MEMORIAL HALL LIBRARY
This book may he kept for fourteen days.
Overtime two cents a day. Books detained
two weeks over the time will be sent for at
the borrower's expense.
Seven day fiction and other books in
especial demand cannot be renewed or
Books lost, or damaged must be paid for.
EDNA A. BROWN
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.
By Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.
All Rights Reserved
Pbinteh in U. S. a.
who wanted me to write this book
Tells About the Apple Orchakd . 11
Tells About Silver Sands . . 19
Tells About the Beach Picnic . 36
Tells About Sunday Breakfast . 47
Tells About Grandmother Thorne . 58
Tells How Polly Made Muffins . 75
Tells About the Blue John . . 85
Tells About the Rainy-Day Drawer 96
Tells About THE Doll-House . . 109
Tells How Fair Rosamond Went
Tells About the Street Fair . . 135
Tells About the Chestnut Picnic . 153
Tells About Polly's Birthday
Tells About the Library Play . 176
Tells About the Thanksgiving Sur-
Polly and Carola helped Susan
with the balloons (Page 149) Frontispiece
She found a long streamer of kelp . 30
Kerry saw something he wanted . . 102
Polly danced about the porch . . 202
Tells about the Apple Orchard
IT was the kind of weather when bureau
drawers stick and needles rust in their
cushions. In New England such days
usually come in midsummer but this especial
morning was in late September, and a Septem-
ber day ought to be clear and crisp, with a
frolicsome wind chasing white cloud-sheep
about a blue sky.
Out in the orchard the tangled wet grass
made a fine place for fallen apples to hide from
a little girl's searching fingers. Polly Winsor
didn't in the least mind picking up the wind-
falls from the turf which Uncle Jack kept cut
12 THREE GATES
with the lawn-mower, but she did not like to
stick her hand down in the long grass. There
was always a chance of plunging a finger into
the heart of a rotten apple or of disturbing a
hungry wasp at breakfast.
Eight apple-trees stood in the orchard, and
it was Polly's daily business to pick up the
windfalls. On the lawn stood a bushel basket,
and, when it was full. Uncle Jack took it away
and gave Polly a bright nickel. Sometimes
the basket was the two-bushel size, and that
meant a dime for Polly's toy bank. One of
the trees bore small dark-red fruit, and it took
a great many of these apples to fill the basket.
Polly was fond of these little red apples.
They were so juicy and hot with sunshine when
she bit into them. People called them " sap-
sons," but Grandma said that when she was a
little girl their name was " sops-of-wine."
Even Grandma and Uncle Jack were proud of
THE APPLE ORCHARD 13
the sapson tree because it was the only one in
the village of Longfield.
On either side of the mown lawn lay flower-
beds gay with old-fashioned flowers: larkspurs,
foxgloves, tiger-lilies, nasturtiums, bleeding-
hearts, and big yellow ones which Mother
called calendulas, but Grandma liked their
older name of " mary-golds."
Between the orchard and the street stood
the white house where Grandma and Uncle
Jack and Mother and Polly lived. Polly and
Mother had not always lived in Longfield.
Once that was a place called " Grandma's-on-
a-visit" and Polly's home was with Mother
and Daddy in a big brick building near a city
park. But four years ago, when Polly was
only three. Daddy went to South America with
some other men to explore a great river and
find out about the plants that grew in the
woods along its bank, and about the curious
14 THREE GATES
animals and birds and the Indians who lived in
those forests. An accident happened to their
boat on this strange river, and Daddy did not
come home again. After a time Mother and
Polly came to live in Longfield with Grandma
Clifford and Uncle Jack.
There was a lawn in front of the white house,
and a fence shut it off from the street. This
fence had three gates, of iron, painted green.
People called the house "Three Gates.'*
These gates were all in line, but just the same
they were called the Back Gate, the Side Gate,
and the Front Gate. The Back Gate usually
stood open, the Side Gate was usually shut,
and the Front Gate, which dragged a little,
stuck about a foot from the post, and wouldn't
close at all.
Every morning at half-past seven. Mother
and Uncle Jack started for the city, twenty-
five miles away. Mother taught school and
THE APPLE ORCHARD 15
Uncle Jack worked in an architect's office,
helping make plans to build houses and
churches and business blocks. Sometimes they
drove to the city in Uncle Jack's little car, but
most of the time they walked to the station and
took the train.
On Saturdays Mother was at home, and
Uncle Jack came back at noon. Of course
Saturday was a holiday in Polly's school in
Because of the rain the day before, there
were more apples than usual to pick up on this
especial Saturday, which was really too hot for
any day at all. Polly had on her rubbers and
she was sure that her two feet were the hottest
things anywhere aroimd. You needn't think
she wanted to wear those rubbers, but it was a
choice between them and bare feet. When
Polly considered the rotten apples and the
chewing wasps with prickers on one end, well —
16 THREE GATES
she preferred to wear rubbers in that long wet
grass. Wouldn't you prefer to?
One apple on top of another finally found
every one picked up. The lawn lay smooth
and clean, and the long grass was tidy. The
biggest basket of all stood heaped, which meant
another dime for Polly's bank. Polly some-
times thought there were altogether too many
apples in that back yard. Grandma did not
agree with her. She thought there were none
too many for pies and apple sauce and rosy
jelly, to eat on waffles or to take to sick people.
Polly's way to the house lay past the long
flower border, and there was a bumblebee head
down in a foxglove blossom. The trimipet
was deep and Polly couldn't resist holding the
edges of the tube together for an instant.
How Mr. Bee did buzz! Angry as he was, he
couldn't sting and he couldn't back out till
Polly chose to let him. That was quite soon.
THE APPLE ORCHARD 17
The big blundering bee rumbled and com-
plained so crossly as he flew away that one did
hope he would feel better-natured before reach-
ing his home and Mrs. Bee. His crooked legs
were yellow with pollen from the many fox-
gloves he had visited.
" Oh, velvet bee, you're a dusty fellow.
You've powdered your legs with gold ! "
sang Polly as she watched him grumble away.
The day she was seven years old, Mother read
her that poem, and Polly knew every word of
Then she picked all the brown seeds from the
stems of the tiger-lilies and started for the
A plank walk along the north fence, three
steps to the back piazza, the screen door, the
tiny hall, and Grandma's pleasant kitchen with
a table just at hand for Polly's little basket
18 THREE GATES
full of the choicest sapsons. Grandma baking
cookies, Mother washing the last of the Satur-
And on the table lay a letter directed to
" Miss Pauline Winsor^
Tells about Silver Sands
WHEN she saw that letter, Polly
stopped only to take off her rubbers,
but while they were coming off she
twinkled from the tips of her toes to the top of
her bobbed brown head. Mother was twin-
kling, too, and so was Grandma.
The envelope hadn't been through the mail,
and Polly knew Mother's pretty writing which
ran along like printing, but she also knew
something nice was going to happen. The air
was simply full of it.
Her letter read:
" At ten, or earlier,
Invites Miss Pauline
To go for a picmc
At Silver Sands"
20 THREE GATES
How Polly laughed! Her gray eyes shone
like stars. Justin wasn't a person at all as one
would think from the note, but the name of
Uncle Jack's little car. Spell it " Just-tin,"
and you will see what Polly's uncle meant.
" O goody, goody ! " she exclaimed, dancing
about the kitchen. " Are we to go bathing?
May I take my bathing-suit? Grandma, will
you go, too? "
" Not into the Atlantic Ocean," Grandma
answered firmly, " though I don't know but
that I should like to sit in it on a day like this."
" Yes, indeed, your bathing-suit," said
Mother. " You and I will take a dip. Uncle
Jack is staying in town for a ball game and
won't be home to go with us. Would you like
to invite Carola? "
Would she like to invite her best friend?
How many pleasant things this hot morning
SILVER 8ANDS 21
Polly flew to the telephone and when Carola,
at the other end of the wire, knew about that
picnic, another white house saw another little
dancing girl. Mrs. Thorne was willing that
Carola should go to the beach. She telephoned
about the lunch.
" The lunch is packed," said Polly's mother.
" There's plenty for every one. Don't bother
about any more. Just let Carola bring a
sweater and her bathing-suit and wear a not-
too-good dress. We'll probably be home by
six, but don't worry if we aren't."
Mrs. Thorne said she wouldn't worry and
that most of Carola's clothes were not-too-good
after the way she had used them all summer,
and that she had just bought a basket of Con-
cord grapes, which Carola should bring.
Polly ran upstairs, washed her face and
hands, and put on a clean gingham dress.
Mother said she needn't wear a hat, but that
22 THREE GATES
she must take a sweater. It might be cool at
the beach. Grandma said it might even be
cold. She didn't trust any weather after the
middle of September.
" May Kerry Crumb go? " Polly asked her
mother. " He is sitting in the car this
In his own mind Kerry Crumb was per-
fectly determined to go wherever his family
was going, whether he were invited or not.
Kerry was Uncle Jack's Irish terrier, six
months old, and he loved the whole world and
everything in it, even Mittens, — Polly's cat.
Mittens didn't love Kerry.
Mother said that Kerry might go and Polly
ran out to tell him so. Kerry wiggled all over
but would not set one paw outside the car. He
felt safer to stay where he was.
Carola arrived with the grapes, and there
was a white paper package tied to the handle
SILVER SANDS 23
of the basket. Mother put all the lunch and
the thermos bottles and the wraps in the back
of the car. The bathing-suits and towels were
rolled in Uncle Jack's rubber blanket. She
put in a steamer rug and a cushion for
" Now, are we all ready? " she asked, look-
ing round. " Into the back seat, chickens.
Grandma will sit in front with me. Pocket-
book, house key, car keys, — all here."
Mother was dressed in white with a soft
white hat pulled over her hair. She looked
much like a little girl herself as she started the
The road to Silver Sands took them as
Grandma said " across country." That meant
that they drove nearly all the way on
pleasant shady roads that led from village to
village and didn't go through any large towns.
The roadsides were '•colorful with asters and
24 THREE GATES
goldenrod and wild clematis covering the stone
walls. In some of the fields men were cutting
the cornstalks and tying them into shocks like
little Indian tents. Other fields held piles of
yellow pumpkins and purple cabbages. And
everywhere there were apples. These did not
Kerry sat between the two little girls on the
back seat. His head was on a level with theirs,
and he kept giving them hasty kisses to show
how glad he was that he was going on a picnic.
His master often called him an " angel-
puppy," and for once Kerry deserved the
The drive to Silver Sands took an hour and
a half and only the last five miles was over the
State road. The rest of the way there was
hardly any traffic.
" We should make better time were Jack at
the wheel," said Mother when they were almost
SILVER SANDS 25
there. " But my passengers are too precious
for me to take any risks with fast driving."
" I like better to have you drive," said
Grandma. " We shall get there soon enough."
When they reached Silver Sands they foimd
other picnic parties. Several cars were al-
ready parked by the bath-house. Mother
found a place for Justin, and she and the chil-
dren took the rug and the luncheon and
Grandma's book and umbrella down on the
beach. Certainly it was not cold on that beach,
but just as surely it was cooler than in Long-
field, for a little salty breeze came from the
" We will go bathing right away," said
Mother. ** If we don't, we shall have to wait
till after lunch."
Polly and Carola thought it much the best
plan to bathe at once. They knew that people
who walked into the ocean shortly after eatmg
26 THREE GATES
came out with some very queer feelings inside
Only a part of the bath-house was open and
the attendant gave Mother a room up a steep
stair. That part seemed older than the rest
of the building, and the door to their room was
fastened by a hasp that went over an iron loop
with a padlock through the loop.
Mother imlocked the padlock and the door
opened inwards upon a tiny cell with a seat
along one side, and three nails on the wall.
" One for Carola, one for Polly, and one for
me," she said. " How about buttons? Any
hard ones out of reach? "
Neither little girl took more than two
minutes to get into her bathing-suit. Another
half -minute answered to hang up their clothes
so as to leave room for Mother, and they were
down the steep stair and running across the
beach to Grandma.
SILVER SANDS 27
The tide was far out, and a long wide stretch
of shiny wet sand lay between them and the
blue water. Lazy lines of surf kept rolling in,
curving in a white arc and crashing down on
" Mother said not to go in till she comes/*
Polly told Grandma.
"Will you please hold my beads?" asked
Mrs. Clifford put Carola's beads around her
neck. When Mother came from the bath-
house she gave Grandma another string of
beads, her wrist-watch, and the pocket-book.
" You'd better give me the key to the bath-
house," said Grandma.
" Goodness ! " said Mother. " Where is the
" I saw it on the seat in the dressing-room,"
" So did I," said PoUy.
28 THREE GATES
" But how could you lock the door? " in-
" It fastened with a padlock," Mother ex-
plained. Then she laughed and Carola
laughed, but Polly looked troubled.
" Shall we have to go home in our bathing-
suits? " she asked.
" No, my precious, we shall not. The at-
tendant will have a duplicate key. She'll let
" Edith, you'd better see about it now," said
Grandma. " The woman may not be around
when you and the children want to dress."
Mother went back to see about the key and
the children ran down on the wet sands. Over
part of the level surface rippled tiny waves
about three inches deep.
Two girls rather older than Polly and
Carola, and a nurse carrying a cunning baby,
came down the beach. The baby could not
SILVER SANDS 29
walk, but he wore a bathing-suit and his arms
and legs were brown. The girls had spades
and, when they reached the part of the beach
where the httle waves were breaking, they dug
up the sand and made a round wall. As soon
as the wall was done, the water filled the en-
closed space. The nurse put the baby into this
little outdoor bath-tub and gave him a toy boat
to sail. Such a happy baby !
" I wish your mother would come," Carola
said, after what seemed a very long time.
" Perhaps she couldn't find the bath-house
woman," said Polly, but she, too, was anxious
to get into those waves. She found a long
streamer of kelp, long enough to use for a
skipping-rope. Carola found another, and
Polly, in her orange-colored suit, and Carola,
in blue, went skipping down the beach.
Grandma smiled to see their bright colors
against the sea.
30 THREE GATES
Two young men came running down the
shore. One plunged directly into the ocean;
the other stopped on the edge. " Is it cold,
Bill? " he asked.
" Cold enough to shake your teeth out! " his
friend replied. " Better go back for an ice-
At this, Carola and Polly looked at each
other. How could the water be so cold as that
when on shore people felt like human gum-
drops? But it must be true, for the first young
man came out and began to turn hand-springs
to get himself warm.
" I wish I could do that," said Carola, watch-
ing him in admiration, and when they went
back near Grandma, she tried it and so did
Polly. It wasn't so easy as it looked, and they
only got sand in their hair.
Kerry wajs tearing up and down the beach
as fast as he could go. He chased the sand-
SILVER 8ANDS 31
pipers till they stopped scrambling along the
shore and took to their wings. He chased the
shadows cast by gulls floating high in the air.
He flew past Polly, digging a hole in the sand,
and pulled her hair with his teeth so that it
hurt. When she scolded him, he lay flat on
his side and pretended he hadn't done it. He
made himself extremely warm and then he
went to the edge of the baby's bath-tub and
took a drink.
" Oh, he will be sick! " exclaimed Carola.
Polly pulled him away, but soon Kerry
learned something he didn't know before. He
found out that salt water isn't good for little
dogs to drink.
After a long time Mother came back. She
had the bath-house key.
" There wasn't another key," she told them.
" We had to open the padlock by poimding it
with a stone."
32 THREE GATES
" Did the woman like it? " Carola asked.
" She did not," said Mrs. Winsor. " But I
think she should have given us a compartment
with a different lock. Come, let's race to the
Kerry Crumb won the race, but he was no
longer interested in that bad-tasting water.
Its edge was plenty near enough for him.
Oh, but the Atlantic was cold! Carola and
Polly screamed and ran ashore.
Mother laughed. She walked straight out
until she reached the great rolling curves of the
surf and she dived right through the next big
wave when it came. The children saw her
floating beyond it.
For a few moments they watched her.
Sometimes, instead of diving into the wave, she
would jump just as it reached her, and then
fling herself backward upon it and ride inshore
on its top. She was having a wonderful time
SILVER SANDS 33
with those breakers, but Polly and Carola
much preferred the sandy shallow edge.
Kerry sat and whined dolefully. He was
sure that his whole family ought to come ashore
Carola and Polly were finally thoroughly
wet all over and were willing to go up to the
bath-house and dress. Grandma gave them
" This time we will leave the key outside the
door," said Polly, and she laid it carefully on
the corridor floor.
Rather sticky work getting out of wet suits
and using towels that didn't like to absorb salt
water. Worst of all, the door kept swinging
in. The wooden button to fasten it was miss-
" This isn't a nice bath-house at all," said
Carola, and she gave the door a hard push.
Something slammed and the door stayed shut.
34 THREE QATE8
It stayed shut only too well. When the
children were dressed and ready to leave, they
could not open it.
For a moment, Polly looked ready to cry.
Then her face cleared. " Mother will be com-
ing and she'll let us out.'"
" But she said she should sit on the beach till
we came," protested Carola.
" She'll wonder what's happened and come
to see," comforted Polly. " But it's fiercely
hot up here."
Just then somebody came into the little room
below them, talking all the time to another per-
son outside the building. She slammed her
" Perhaps she'll come up and let us out,"
whispered Carola. " I'm going to ask her,"
and she did so.
" Bless you, child," said the voice from be-
low, " I would come, of course, only I've just
SILVER SANDS 35
taken off my bathing-suit. But I'll call my
In just about two minutes a fat lady, much
out of breath, puffed up those narrow steep
stairs and released the hasp which had fallen
over its loop.
"I do not like this dressing-room," said
Polly, after thanking the lady for letting them
out. " I hope they never give it to us again."
" I think I'd better stay right here and keep
this horrid door from doing anything else be-
fore your mother comes," said Carola. " You
run and get her. And don't let that key get
inside, will you? "
Tells about the Beach Picnic
SOMETIMES, on a Saturday picnic at
Silver Sands, Mother built a fire of
driftwood and cooked bacon and baked
potatoes in the ashes, but she thought to-day-
was too warm for cooking on the beach to be
any fun. It was to be a different kind of
The little girls were hungry enough to eat
even some things they didn't like, but they both
liked sandwiches of graham bread and cottage
cheese, and stuffed eggs, and Grandma's mo-
lasses cookies, and the grapes from Carola's
basket. The surprise package tied to the
handle was a box of chocolate peppermints.
There was cold milk for everybody.
THE BEACH PICNIC 37
Kerry Crumb had a dog biscuit which he
gnawed hungrily, and didn't seem to mind how
much sand he ate as well. Polly tried to have
him keep it on the rubber poncho, but Kerry
preferred to stay on the poncho himself, and
to keep the biscuit just over the edge on the
" Why did Mr. Jack give him that name? "
" Because he is an Irish terrier and County
Kerry is in Ireland," explained Mrs. Winsor,
" and Crumb, because he was very tiny and
just the color of the brown-bread crumbs left
from supper the night he came."
Carola thought it a cunning name. She
gave Kerry a peppermint, which he ate at once,
and then didn't like the taste left in his mouth.
Polly gave him some milk from the thermos
After luncheon. Mother lay down for a nap
38 THREE GATES
on the rug, and Grandma and the children
walked a long way up the beach, away to the
cliff at its northern end, where the beach turned
into brown rocks, and the road vanished into
the sky. Kerry rushed around at full speed,
poking his nose into the seaweed above high-
water mark, and running for pebbles and
sticks which the children threw for him.
Kerry would be a tired little dog that night.
When they came back from their walk.
Mother was sorting the dried rockweed.
When it first drifted in on the tide, it was
light-bro^vn in color, and wet, with seed pods
that popped when pinched. Then it dried and
turned dark brown and finally became brittle
and inky black. The pods and stems formed
pretty curves and angles.
" What are you going to do with it.
Mother? " Polly asked.
" See how lovely these little branches are,"
TEE BEACH PICNIC 39
said Mother. " I am going to take home some
of the prettiest ones and use them with my
classes in design."
Polly was interested at once. She knew how
lovely were the designs which Mother made
from leaves and woodbine berries, and bar-
berry clusters and bits of moss. Almost any
growing thing gave Mother an idea for her
classes. And Polly knew about placing a
mirror to reflect the branch of berries and so
make the design double, or even double it
again, by using two mirrors. Mother was al-
ways doing tremendously interesting things
with metal and leather and putty and paints
and pots of dye, or even with plain pencils and
Carola and Grandma were interested also,
and a great deal of black, dried rockweed was
sorted over until they were sure they had the
prettiest sprays, and plenty of them. They
40 THREE GATES
forgot all about Kerry, curled up on one comer
of the rug for a nap. When they did remem-
ber him, he was gone.
Everybody jumped up to look for him, for
Kerry was a valuable puppy and Uncle Jack
thought a great deal of him. Kerry was so
young and so friendly that he thought every-
body he met was delightful. It would be
terrible if Kerry were stolen.
But Kerry was not far up the beach, rolling
about in the seaweed above high-water mark.
He came when he was called, and they wished
he had not come.
Kerry had found a fish which had been on
the beach a good while, and how his pretty
cinnamon-colored coat did smell! It was not
pleasant to have him near them, even on the
wide beach. To ride home with him seemed
"Dear me! what a naughty puppy!" ex-
TEE BEACH PICNIC 41
claimed Mrs. Winsor. "What shall we do.
Mother? He'll have to be washed."
" He certainly will," agreed Grandma.
"And I don't see how. Is there any fresh
water at the bath-house? "
" Not a drop," said her daughter. " I have
made that attendant sufficient trouble as it is.
What am I going to do? We can't walk up to
a strange house and ask if our dog may have a
Grandma agreed that this could not be done.
She took a handful of wet seaweed and
scrubbed Kerry with it. The scrubbing did
not improve matters, except to make Kerry
understand that he was in disgrace.
" Nothing but soap and water will do any
good," said Grandma. " Edith, you'll have to
drive somewhere and buy a cake of salt-water
soap. Then you can put on your bathing-suit
and wash him in the ocean. Naughty Kerry ! "
42 TEREE GATES
Kerry looked more wretched than ever.
Mrs. Clifford usually fed him and she almost
never scolded him. What had happened to his
Mrs. Winsor went off to get the soap and
the disgraced Kerry was sternly commanded to
lie down and to keep still. While she was
gone, two interesting things happened.
First, they saw an airplane which flew so
low above the beach that it seemed as though
the pilot meant to land. But he only circled
around, sometimes over the water and some-
times over the shore. He waved his hand to
the people and everybody waved back. He
flew around in a double loop and then he went
straight away, disappearing over the headland
to the north. It must be fun to be sky-riding
on a blue-and-white September afternoon.
The other interesting thing happened right
on the beach. Two young men in bathing-
THE BEACH PICNIC 43
suits came down to the water, one carrying a
double-bladed paddle, and the other the most
interesting boat Polly and Carola had ever
It was so light that it could be carried on
his shoulder, and it was only an oblong frame-
work of narrow wooden strips with four enor-
mous red rubber balls at the corners.
The minute the boat appeared a cry of
pleasure went up from the beach. The chil-
dren came running to ask for a ride on the
The young men said that the water was too
. rough that afternoon to take any passengers.
Some day, when it was calm, the children might
go. One of them took the boat out beyond
the line of surf and then sat on the cross-pieces
and paddled up and down. The four big wet
red balls reflected the sunshine. The other
young man sat down on the beach to await his
44 THREE GATES
turn. Grandma asked him to tell them about
He said it was one of the kind they used for
surf sports in the Hawaiian islands. Nobody
at this beach had one before. Paddling it was
great fun, but people who could not swim well
ought never to try it. When the ocean was
smooth, without breakers, and the bubble-boat
could keep near shore in shallow water, they
sometimes took the children, but never when
the surf was as high as to-day.
Then he noticed Kerry and said he was a
nice little fellow, and then he smelled that
Grandma explained that her daughter had
gone to buy the right kind of soap so that she
could wash him in the ocean.
" Why, I'll wash him," said the young man.
" I'm dressed for it, and I'm used to dogs."
When Mrs. Winsor came back with the
THE BEACH PICNIC 45
soap, she was glad not to have to get into her
wet bathing-suit and take Kerry into the sea.
The young man covered him with lather and
rinsed him and lathered him again and again.
Poor Kerry looked very unhappy, but it was
all his own fault. Finally the young man
brought him out, smelling strongly of soap but
of nothing else.
" I'm everlastingly obliged to you," said
" Glad to do it," said the young man
pleasantly. " Better rub him dry. He's
shivering and may take cold."
He went away to take his turn with the
bubble-boat, and Mother and Carola and Polly
all rubbed Kerry with the bath-towels which
would have to be washed, anyway. He was a
sad little dog with a very poor opinion of
strange young men and of the Atlantic Ocean.
When he was as dry as they could make
46 THREE GATES
him, Polly buttoned him into her sweater and
made him lie down in the warm sand right in
** He won't have pneumonia now, will he,
Mother? " she asked anxiously.
" I don't think he will have so much as a
sniffle," said Mother. " He has stopped shiver-
ing and is warm to touch."
" Uncle Jack's angel puppy will be clean
enough to sleep on his bed to-night," sighed
Polly. " I do think, Mother, when Grandma
lets Uncle Jack have Kerry in his room, you
might let Mittens sleep with me."
" I do not approve of a pussy in a little girl's
bed," laughed Mother.
Tells about Sunday Breakfast
IT was a question whether Justin would
reach Longfield first, or whether the sun
would reach the horizon. Justin won the
race by only a few minutes. When he stopped
to leave Carola at her home, three-quarters of
the sun's disc was flaming a good-night to the
world. When Mother and Polly were taking
the things from the car, the sun was half gone,
and, by the time Justin was behind his bed-
room door, only pink clouds and rosy twilight
were left to tell the story of that happy Satur-
Kerry slept nearly all the way home, his
head and shoulders in Polly's lap, the rest of
him in Carola's. Kerry had spent a hard day.
On the porch Mittens was waiting, his pretty
48 THREE GATE8
little double front paws tucked under his white
vest. Those paws had extra toes, so that they
really looked like tiny mittens. When he first
came to Polly as a kitten baby, he tried to walk
and tumbled over his front paws. Then he sat
down and lifted first one paw and then the
other, looking at them as though wondering
what on earth was the matter with his feet.
Mittens no longer fell over his extra toes.
He flew after the autumn leaves like a little
fur whirlwind. He climbed the highest trees
in the neighborhood to sit on branches no
bigger than twigs, and swaying in the wind.
Very often he hustled up the vine trellises to
the sill of Polly's window. Once Grandma
looked from her room to see Mittens walking
the ridgepole of the house next door. A ladder
left by a painter gave him the chance to ex-
plore a roof. He was always getting into open
bureau drawers or trying to squeeze himself
SUNDAY BREAKFAST 49
into boxes if the covers were ajar. He thought
it his right to be present at the opening of
every package brought into the house. When
Mother placed fresh flowers about the rooms.
Mittens at once went to look them over. And
nobody, from Grandma down to Polly, ever
left a dress or a garment on a bed, but Mittens
was found curled up on it.
When Mittens saw Polly, he got up at once
and ran to meet her. He put his head down
on the walk and almost turned a somersault.
Then he flopped completely over and purred
Polly picked Mittens up and kissed him.
She told him she didn't think it was fair to
leave him behind and to take Kerry. She also
told him how badly Kerry had behaved. Mit-
tens purred even louder. He had missed Polly
and was glad to see her, but he didn't care a
whisker for Kerry.
50 THREE GATES
Uncle Jack was back from his ball game.
The big basket of apples was gone, and a shin-
ing ten-cent piece was waiting for Polly. She
went at once for her toy bank which was quite
an miusual kind.
It looked like a little metal house sitting in a
front yard surrounded by a fence. The house
had two front doors. When Polly turned a
handle, a little metal dog with a pleasant ex-
pression and a shaggy tail came out of the left-
hand door. In his mouth he carried a plate
on which he took the piece of money. When
the handle turned again, the little brown dog
moved across the front yard of the house and
went in at the other door. He always put the
money into the bank; one could hear it falling
from his plate. But he never brought any out
After her long day at the beach, Polly was
so sleepy that her head began to nod before
SUNDAY BREAKFAST 51
she left the table. Uncle Jack said she must
have beach sand in her eyes. Something was
certainly the matter with them, for she didn't
even hear the last half of Mother's bedtime
The next thing she knew the smi was shining
across her bed and a crisp cool breeze ruffled
the muslin curtains at the windows. That
breeze smelled as though the day really be-
longed to September and was not one lost from
Polly sat up. Her bed was in an alcove of
the room she and Mother shared. Mother,
over by the other window, was still asleep.
This was Sunday and Polly knew that her
family would like to sleep later than on days
when they had to rush for trains, so she cuddled
down under her blankets to think about the
waves and the gulls and the bubble-boat. But
she kept her face toward Mother's bed. The
52 THREE GATES
moment Mother's eyes opened, Polly intended
to dash across that room for a morning cuddle.
From the window she could see the top of
the sapson tree. Ever so many cunning little
yellow birds were flitting about its branches.
All the birds appeared to be going in one direc-
tion. Perhaps the sapson was a one-way tree
for air traffic, with its branches reserved for
birds bound south.
What was that queer sound in the kitchen?
Somebody was rattling dishes. Grandma
never made so much noise. That other queer
sound was Kerry's toe-nails clicking on the
floor. Uncle Jack must be downstairs. Polly
half-remembered hearing him say something
about going off early if the morning were
pleasant. He must be getting his own break-
Presently she heard Kerry clicking upstairs
and then the door of her room opened a crack.
SUNDAY BREAKFAST 53
Kerry stuck his nose in, and Uncle Jack's voice
said " Edith! " in a loud whisper.
Mother couldn't have been so sound asleep
as she looked. " Yes, what is it? " she rephed
" Edith, I don't know what's the matter with
the oatmeal. It looks like putty."
" Don't eat it then," said Polly's mother.
" But I want it for my breakfast," whispered
Uncle Jack. " Stop that, you pesky little
His sister roused a little more. " It can't
be spoiled, if you mean what was left from yes-
" It looks like putty," repeated Uncle Jack.
" Shut up, you angel pup ! "
Polly couldn't pretend any longer. She
giggled right out and Kerry gave a little yelp.
"Don't let that dog wake Mother," said
Mrs. Winsor. " She was tired last night. Take
54 THREE GATES
him away, Jack, and 111 come down and see
what is the matter."
" It looks like putty," her brother announced
for the third time. " Whew! I must rescue
the toast from the power of the flame."
Uncle Jack shut the door and Mother sat up
in bed. She smiled at Polly and pulled on her
pretty pink kimono and reached for her slip-
pers. " I shall have to go down and see what
my little brother wants," she said.
" May I come? " begged Polly. " I do so
want to know what looks like putty."
" Come along," said Mother. " It may he
putty, for all I know."
Polly hopped into her red kimono and slip-
pers and they went down to the kitchen.
Uncle Jack was looking dubiously at the con-
tents of a saucepan boiling on the gas-stove.
Uncle Jack was extremely fond of oatmeal.
Much to Polly's bewilderment he would even
SUNDAY BREAKFAST 55
choose it for lunch at a city restaurant. To
eat porridge on a cold winter morning was one
thing, but to choose it to eat in a tea-room when
one might order creamed chicken or a baked
egg in a cunning nest of spinach was more than
Polly could understand. Uncle Jack liked
oatmeal even better than ice-cream. No won-
der he was disappointed at the way it acted
Polly looked into the saucepan and saw a
queer, colorless, greasy mess resembling putty
as much as anything. Then she looked up at
Mother's face, and that wore a puzzled expres-
" I never saw anything like it," Mother ad-
mitted. " Was it in the refrigerator? "
" It was," said Uncle Jack. " A bowl full.
Left from yesterday. I told Mother I would
eat it this morning."
" Have you tasted it? " asked his sister.
56 THREE GATES
" Once. No more, thanks."
" It must have spoiled," mused Mrs. Win-
sor, " but I don't see why it should look so
queer. Can't you eat that quick-cooking kind
for once, Jacky? Or some shredded wheat? "
" I'd as soon eat excelsior," said her brother.
" I don't like that quick oatmeal half so well
as this, but if you know where the package is,
lead me to it."
"What is the matter with the oatmeal?"
Polly asked when she and Mother were going
back to their room.
" I can't imagine, darling. Perhaps
Grandma may know."
Grandma did know. An hour later, they
had breakfast together in the alcove by the
sunny kitchen window. Uncle Jack planned
that table with the seat on either side. Polly
loved the breakfast-nook. She and Grandma
used it for their noon lunch, because it was
SUNDAY BREAKFAST 57
cosier for two alone. Besides, it saved
Grandma many steps. There was a delft
blue runner on the table and the napkins were
blue and the breakfast dishes a clear yellow.
This morning the table held a vase full of
orange and cream-colored California poppies
which looked like butterflies ready for flight.
And there was a blue bowl piled with dark blue
Concord grapes. Such a pretty breakfast!
Only to see that table made Polly hungry.
" Grandma," she asked, " what made Uncle
Jack's oatmeal that funny color? "
" It isn't oatmeal at all," replied Grandma.
"It isn't!" exclaimed her daughter.
" What has he cooked up, Mother? "
" The bowl of pie-crust I was keeping on
ice for my next pies," replied Grandma. " No
wonder you didn't recognize it, Edith. I
never myself saw pie-crust brought to a boil
Tells about Grandmother Thorne
THE next Friday, Carola invited Polly
to come home with her after school.
Grandma said Polly might go.
Carola and Polly were both in the second
grade and their teacher was Miss Rand. She
had been teaching for many years and knew
just how to make lessons interesting for little
girls. And when two little girls were es-
pecially fond of each other, she let them sit
together as long as they did not talk too much
nor do anything disorderly. Some teachers
are not so understanding.
Carola and Polly sat side by side in the
fourth row of seats in Miss Rand's schoolroom.
On this afternoon when Carola knew that
GRANDMOTHER THORNE 59
Polly might come home with her, it was hard to
pay attention to their work.
Three o'clock came at last and school was
over for the pupils in the first two grades.
When one became a third-grade scholar, school
kept half an hour later. Three o'clock on an
autunm day meant two hours to play with
They ran nearly all the way to Carola's
home. The Thornes lived in a big white house
set in large grounds with many flowers and
trees about it, and there were more people in
Carola's family than in Polly's.
Besides Carola's father and mother there was
Grandmother Thorne. She was much older
than Polly's grandma and not very strong, so
that she nearly always stayed in a big sunny
upstairs sitting-room with a pleasant young
woman to take care of her.
Then there was Susan, Carola's older sister.
60 THREE OATES
Susan was fifteen, which seemed very grown-
up to the little girls.
Carola also had two brothers. Richard was
only four. He couldn't pronounce his name
and called himself " Wicky," so everybody
called him that. Her older brother was twelve
and he had an odd name. At least, Polly
thought it odd until Grandmother Thorne told
her that when Massachusetts was first settled
most parents called their children by old-
fashioned names like Patience and Remem-
brance, Pardon, Hopestill, and Truth. Nearly
three hundred years ago a little boy in the
Thorne family was named Dutee, which was
the way they spelled duty then.
When he grew up and married and had a
little son, he named his baby Dutee. And
when that baby grew up, he did exactly the
same thing, and they went on doing it.
Carola's father was called Dutee, and her
GRANDMOTHER THORNE 61
brother Dutee was the eleventh little boy in
the Thorne family who had been so named dur-
ing those many, many years.
Every day every one of the Thorne children
went to spend a few moments with their grand-
mother, and Carola suggested to Polly that
they go up to her room.
" Oh, perhaps, if she feels quite rested, she'll
show us the little old tea-set," said Polly.
"Will you ask her?"
" Yes," said Carola. " And then we'll go
to the barn and saddle Silverheels."
Carola knocked on Grandmother's door and
Miss Somers opened it. She said that Madam
Thome would be glad to see them for a few
Carola's grandmother was sitting near the
open window in a big stuffed chair of the kind
called a wing-chair. They are comfortable for
people who are old or not very strong or well
62 THREE GATES
because the high back and sides keep off the
Polly loved to look at Carola's grandmother.
She had snow-white hair that waved away from
a face which was sweet and serene whenever
Polly saw it. She was always dressed in soft,
cream-white woolen dresses, and on her thin
white hands were several rings with beautiful
shining stones. Polly's mother had once
painted a picture of Grandmother Thome sit-
ting in her wing-chair.
As the children came to her, she smiled and
held out her hand to Polly. Carola, she had
already seen that morning.
" How is Polly to-day? " she asked.
"Very well, please, thank you," said Polly,
getting a little mixed, but she took Grand-
mother's hand, and did not forget to curtsey.
Mother had told her that whatever else she
forgot, she miLst remember to curtsey to
GRANDMOTHER THORNE 63
Grandmother Thorne. The hand felt dif-
ferently from those of other people, as though
it no longer did anything harder than hold a
magazine or a handkerchief. It felt as though
it were resting.
Grandmother asked how school had gone
that afternoon and they told her all the news,
how Ella had brought a tiny turtle for the
aquarium ; how Marion had disgraced the whole
room by chewing gum, when all the second
grade knew perfectly well that no lady ever
chews gum; how Miss Rand read them a poem
about Jack Frost and wrote it on the board so
that every one could learn it. Carola told her
about the first drawing-lesson of the term, and
how the drawing-teacher said that Polly's work
was best of all.
Grandmother smiled at Polly. " That will
please Mother," she said. " Be sure to tell her,
64 THREE GATES
Polly meant to tell Mother, but she was glad
Carola was the one to speak about it now.
" Grandmother," asked Carola, " may we
look at the little tea-set? Will it tire you to
have us? "
" Not at all," said Grandmother. " You
may ask Miss Somers to get it."
Carola went to speak to the nurse who had
gone into Grandmother's bedroom. Presently
she returned, carrying a wooden box.
" My dear, will you bring up the little
stand? " Grandmother asked Polly.
Polly could easily carry the light low table.
She placed it by Grandmother's side and
Carola put the box upon it. Grandmother
turned the key.
Inside was a doll's tea-set. It was very,
very old, and it was made of real silver.
Grandmother said it had been made in Eng-
land when George the Fourth was king of that
GRANDMOTHER THORNE 65
country, and that was a great many years ago.
So you can see that it was right to regard the
tea-set as unusual.
The teapot stood two inches high and held
about a tablespoonful of water, and it would
Just then, Miss Somers brought Madam
Thorne her afternoon tea on a tray. Grand-
mother asked her to fill the tiny silver teapot
from the big one, and to put cream in the wee
pitcher and sugar in the sugar-bowl. Miss
Somers did all this and also rinsed the silver
cups in hot water.
Then Grandmother asked Polly if she would
be so kind as to pour her a cup of tea.
Think of the fun of pouring tea into those
cups like inverted thimbles! Polly was so
pleased that she was simply obliged to jump
up and down, — very gently of course, so as not
to shake Grandmother's chair.
66 THREE GATES
" I like the cream and sugar put in first, my
dear," said Grandmother.
The spoons which belonged to the set were
just three-quarters of an inch long, and their
bowls held about ten grains of the granulated
sugar with which Miss Somers filled the bowl.
"Will this spoonful be enough?" asked
" That will be right for me," replied Grand-
mother, " and about four drops of cream."
Polly took great pains with the cream and
then she poured in the tea and gave the little
silver cup with its spoon and silver saucer to
Madam Thorne. Then she took another little
leap of joy and asked Miss Somers how she
liked her tea.
Miss Somers preferred it without either
cream or sugar, so that was easy. Polly
poured some for Carola and for herself and
emptied the sugar-bowl between the two cups.
GRANDMOTHER THORNE 67
Nothing could ever taste quite so good as that
spoonful of tea from that dainty wee tea-set.
And think of the care with which it had been
kept through the years !
Polly and Carola each had a biscuit from
Grandmother's tray, and then Miss Somers
brought a soft cloth and a brass finger-bowl of
Very carefully the girls washed and dried
the little silver service and replaced it in the
velvet-lined box. That box was most interest-
ing, for the lining lay in hollows for each little
dish to fit into so that they never rubbed each
Miss Somers took the box to put away, and
she looked at the children and smiled and then
looked at the door. Carola and Polly under-
stood. They got up at once.
" Thank you so much for showing us the
tea-set and letting us have tea," said Polly.
68 THREE GATES
" I just loved it, Grandmother Thorne," and
she kissed Madam Thome's soft cheek. Carola
also kissed her.
" Come again soon, dears," said Grand-
mother. '* I enjoy having little girls pour my
When she reached the door, Polly whirled
around to make another curtsey. She felt it
very little to do after being allowed to pour tea
from that precious teapot.
They went downstairs softly till they were
sure Grandmother could not be disturbed, and
then they ran the rest of the way to the barn to
Silverheels, the pony, belonged to all four
of the Thorne children, and they loved him
dearly, even Susan and Dutee, who had grown
too big to ride him. But they still liked to
harness him to the little basket cart for a drive.
Silverheels was black, with four white feet
GRANDMOTHER THORNE 69
and a white star on his forehead, and he was
used to being hugged by loving arms and to
having his star and his velvet nose kissed. He
was not a shaggy pony, but looked like a little
horse, and his back was just the right height
for Carola and Polly to rest their arms on, so
you can see that Silverheels was not very tall.
On this afternoon, he was enjoying himself
in a little yard at the side of the barn and when
Carola offered him a lump of sugar, he came
at once, and let her take him by the forelock.
Carola had his bridle in her hand and slipped
it over his head and fastened it. Polly was
tugging the saddle from the barn.
" I'll give you a hand with that," said Dutee,
coming up behind her.
"Oh, please do," said Polly. "It's very
hard for Carola and me to pull it tight."
Dutee flopped the saddle-cloth and saddle on
Silverheels' back, put the girth through the
70 THREE GATES
buckle, braced it with one foot and tugged till
the pony grunted.
" You're hurting him! " protested Carola.
" I am not," said her brother. " He swells
himself out on purpose. The saddle will slip
unless it's tighter than this."
Silverheels let out his breath and the saddle
loosened at once. Dutee gave it another tug
and took up the slack.
" There you are," he said, fastening the
buckle. " Don't you go outside the gates,
either of you."
Dutee put a hand on Silverheels' back and
vaulted over him as though he were merely a
fence. Then he went off to play tennis with
" You ride first," said Carola. " You're
"Let's both ride," said Polly. "We do
GRANDMOTHER THORNE 71
" All right," Carola agreed. " Then you
sit on the saddle."
So Polly sat on the saddle with her feet in
the stirrups and Carola sat behind, with her
arms around Polly, and they rode up and down
the drive and on the grassy turf of the orchard
where the boys were playing tennis.
That tennis game was going on under diffi-
culties, for Dutee's setter puppy, known by the
name of Beware-the-dog, was galloping up and
do^vn the court, trying to catch the ball, and
getting very much in the way of the players.
Dutee did not send him away because he was
trying to teach Beware-the-dog to bring back
the balls that bounced off the court. He was
also trying to train him to hunt for Mrs.
Thome's eyeglasses when she lost them, but
Beware-the-dog was making better progress
with the tennis balls than with the glasses.
There was plenty of room on the grounds of
72 THREE GATES
the Thorne house for the children to enjoy
Silverheels without going on the street. That
was strictly forbidden. Carola and Polly must
never take him outside the gates. Both
Mother and Mrs. Thorne said so. The motor-
cars were too many and too dangerous for a
wee pony and little girls.
After riding double, they took turns alone,
because it wasn't comfortable to let Silverheels
trot with both on his back. When it was
Polly's turn, she rode on the grass walks of the
flower garden and before she could stop him,
Silverheels bit off a big blue aster. She
couldn't pull his head up in time.
Carola thought this was very funny. When
she took her turn she rode straight to the aster
bed and let him eat another.
" I want to see whether he likes the blue ones
best," she said.
Silverheels was not particular as to color.
GRANDMOTHER THORNE 73
He took a pink one. When they tried a third
time, he was no longer interested in asters.
" Now, let's take him into the house," said
Silverheels had often been up the piazza
steps, so Carola rode him to the back door,
which Polly held open for her. Silverheels
went into the kitchen, where Bertha, the cook,
seemed glad to see him. She gave him a cooky
and told him he was a " sweet little fellow."
" We mustn't go into the other rooms," said
Carola, ** because of the floors. But Susan is
going to make Silverheels some boots out of
very thick cloth, so his feet won't hurt any-
thing. When he has those, he can visit Daddy
in the library. I think Silverheels would like
the open fire. If Beware-the-dog can come
in that part of the house, Silverheels ought to
They took the pony out of the kitchen, and
74 THREE GATES
then they met Wicky and his nurse. Wicky
wanted to ride Silverheels, so they put him in
the saddle and let him hold the reins while they
walked on either side, and the nurse came be-
And then it was five o'clock and time for
Polly to go home.
Tells How Polly Made Muffins
IT was high time that Polly came home, for
Grandma needed her. That bad little
Kerry ran in front of her when she was
going down the steps. Grandma tripped over
him and twisted her ankle and her right wrist,
not very badly, but enough so that both should
have rest. Careless Kerry was not hurt at all.
Grandma smiled at Polly and said she
should feel all right if she sat still for a few
moments before getting supper.
Polly always set the table, and she did this
at once, putting doilies and china and silver in
place, as nicely as any one could do. She
looked to see if the flowers in the table vase
were fresh. Grandma and Mother were par-
76 THREE GATES
ticular about this. Then she went into the
kitchen, where Grandma sat quietly in the
rocking-chair. Polly stood on its rocker and
put her arms around Grandma's neck. Polly
often hugged her family. Uncle Jack some-
times called her a " hug-bug."
" Does it hurt very much? " she asked.
" No, darling," said Grandma. " Hardly
any so long as I keep quiet."
" I could get supper," coaxed Polly. " I
know I could do everything if you tell me."
" Would you like to try? " asked Grandma.
" I was going to have baked cauliflower and
baked sweet potatoes and tomato salad. I
meant to make bran muffins but we'll have to
do without those. I made the cheese sauce for
the cauliflower before Kerry tripped me. I
believe you could finish putting that together,
Polly was sure she could do everything. First
HOW POLLY MADE MUFFINS 77
she put on a gay little pink rubber apron which
just fitted her. Polly was very proud of that
apron. She washed the sweet potatoes and
put them into the oven and then she lighted the
pilot-light of the stove and turned on the burn-
ers, one after the other. She hoped the gas
would not pop.
This time it didn't, but caught cheerfully
and promptly as a well-mannered gas-stove
should always do.
Then she gave Grandma another hug.
" Couldn't I make the muffins? " she begged.
Grandma hesitated a second.
" Uncle Jack loves bran muffins," said Polly.
That settled the matter, as Polly knew it
" You could try," said Grandma, and she
told Polly just how to make the muffins.
Polly brought out the tins and put them on
the stove to warm, and then buttered them
78 THREE GATES
with the little pastry brush. Under Grandma's
direction she measured the flour and sugar and
all the other things that go into muffins. She
broke an egg into a cup and beat it with the
littlest beater and then she mixed everything
together and put the batter into the tins and
tucked them into the oven beside the potatoes.
Then she danced about the kitchen. " What
next? " she asked Grandma with shining eyes.
" I'm sorry Kerry hurt you, but cooking is
" You're a great help to me, Polly," said
Grandma and she said that the next thing was
to make the tomato salad.
Polly brought the lettuce and the sliced to-
matoes from the refrigerator, and the salad
plates from the dining-room. She placed the
lettuce on the green glass plates and shook up
the bottle of French dressing and poured some
over the leaves of lettuce. She arranged the
HOW POLLY MADE MUFFINS 79
slices of tomato on their green beds and put
dabs of mayonnaise over them. She shook red
paprika over the yellow dressing.
" That's a very tempting salad," said
Grandma. "Now the cauMower comes
Polly skipped into the pantry for a glass
baking-dish. She tipped into it the cauli-
flower which had been cooked earlier in the
day. She went to the stove for the cheese
sauce. This was keeping hot in a double-
" Be careful not to burn yourself," said
Polly was very careful indeed. This was
the smaller of the two double-boilers, the one
Mother called the Lamb. The larger white
boiler was the Sheep.
The Lamb behaved like its name and the
nice-smelling smooth white sauce went over the
80 THREE GATES
crown of the cauliflower and filled the corners
of the dish. Grandma told her to sprinkle
bread crumbs quite thickly over the whole.
Another skip into the pantry for the bread
crumbs. Polly found them in a glass jar and
shook them around with a spoon. Then
Grandma got up for the first time. The color
was coming back to her face and she did not
limp so much.
" I'll put it in the oven," she said. " I'm
afraid you will burn yourself doing that."
The oven did seem rather full with the glass
dish and the mufiin-tins and all the potatoes,
and it was also very hot. Polly was relieved
that Grandma felt like managing that part.
" What is there for dessert? " she asked.
" Baked apples and cream," said Grandma.
" They are ready to go on the sideboard. And
a plate of cookies, Polly. My! what a help
HOW POLLY MADE MUFFINS 81
" But I love to help," said Polly, hurrying
to put the dessert on the sideboard. " What
" It isn't quite time to put on the butter-
balls or fill the glasses with water. Come and
sit on the arm of my chair and tell me what
you did at Carola's house."
Polly had been too interested in cooking to
think about anything except what she was do-
ing. She sat on the arm of the chair and told
Grandma about pouring tea from the darling
pot and about riding Silverheels.
" It's nice for Carola to have a pony," she
" Yes, it is," agreed Grandma a little wist-
fully. " Do you wish you had one? "
" We haven't any good place to keep it," said
Polly contentedly. " I have Mittens and
Kerry, and Carola lets me ride Silverheels.
Carola has only one thing I haven't that I'd
82 THREE GATES
really like, Grandma, and that's Wicky. I
would like to have a little brother."
" Indeed, I wish you had one," said
When Mother and Uncle Jack came, after
they were sure Grandma wasn't much hurt,
they were certainly astonished to know that
Polly mixed those muffins. Grandma said
they were every bit as good as hers and Uncle
Jack said he didn't believe the President of the
United States could make better ones.
This puzzled Polly for a moment. " You
mean the Mrs. President? " she asked.
Polly's whole family laughed and Uncle
Jack reached over to pinch her cheek.
" I mean the President and his wife and his
children and his forefathers even to the fourth
generation," he said solemnly.
Polly looked relieved. Uncle Jack was only
joking. When it came time for dessert, he an-
HOW POLLY MADE MUFFINS 83
nounced that he was going to " buttle," and he
put on Polly's pink apron which just about
covered his chest. And when he gave Polly
her baked apple it wore a fat white marsh-
mallow for a hat.
After supper, neither Grandma nor Polly
was permitted to help. Grandma sat in the
kitchen rocker, and Polly sat on her lap.
Mother washed the dishes and Uncle Jack
wiped them, still wearing the pink apron.
And they laughed so much that they forgot to
be careful, and Uncle Jack broke a saucer.
Grandma said she was not surprised.
Then it was Polly's bedtime and she and
Mother went upstairs. Polly didn't need any
help about going to bed, but ever since Father
hadn't come back from that South American
river. Mother and Polly had felt like doing a
great deal for each other.
While she was undressing, Polly told Mother
84 THREE GATES
about the pleasant time she had with Carola
and how beautiful Grandmother Thorne
looked and about the drawing-lesson and what
the teacher said.
Mother was pleased. She asked what flower
they drew and from which side the light fell
upon it, and what part Polly did first. She
was interested in everything about the lesson.
Then Polly asked if there would be a picnic
the next day, which was Saturday.
" I don't believe so," said Mother. " If it
is pleasant, a man is coming to help Uncle Jack
pick the apples and put them in the cellar.
And I want to dig the gladiolus bulbs from the
garden and tidy the flower-beds."
" I'll help dig the bulbs," said Polly.
" Of course you will," Mother answered.
" I wouldn't think of doing it without you."
Tells about the Blue John
GREEN apples against a blue sky; red
ones sparkling on a background of
pretty white clouds ; ladders leaning on
big branches; Mittens scrambling up one tree
and down, only to dash up another, with Kerry
wildly barking beside him — Polly thought the
orchard a pleasant place that afternoon.
Uncle Jack and Mr. Gibson were rapidly fill-
ing baskets to be emptied into barrels waiting
in the cellar.
Mother looked at those barrels and agreed
with Polly that they could not possibly eat all
" We shall have plenty if we sell six barrels,"
she said to Grandma.
86 THREE GATES
" It's a good crop," Grandma assented.
" Polly will be glad to have no more windfalls
to look after."
Polly hadn't thought much about that part
of the harvesting. No more apples to pick up
meant no more nickels for the little brown dog
to take into the bank. A good many had gone
in since the apples first began to fall. Polly
would have money for her Christmas shopping.
Grandma's wrist and ankle were comfort-
able this afternoon, but Mother had done most
of the extra Saturday work. Now she and
Polly came out to dig the gladiolus bulbs.
All through July and August there had been
spikes of beautiful flowers. Some were white
with dark throats, some were clear yellow,
some were pink, and some, and Polly liked
these best, were the color of flame.
Mother showed her how to put a trowel into
the earth near the bulb but not touching it.
THE BLUE JOHN 87
A gentle pressure on the trowel loosened the
bulb in the ground so that it came out easily
when lifted by its green handle. When Polly
pulled up the first one she sat back quite as-
" Look, Mother! " she exclaimed. " See all
the baby bulbs!"
" Those are the bulblets," said Mother.
" Don't shake them off, darling. We will let
them dry and another year we will plant all
the baby bulbs by themselves."
"Will they have flowers?" asked Polly.
How could a spike of blossoms come out of
anything so wee?
" Not next summer, but they will grow into
much larger bulbs and the flowers will come
the simimer after next."
" I shall be nearly ten years old, then," said
Polly solemnly. Two summers seemed a very
long time to wait for flowers.
88 THREE GATES
When the bulbs were all out of the ground,
Mother took the garden shears and cut off the
leaves five or six inches from each bulb. Then
Polly laid them in a long row on the kitchen
porch to dry. It was not good for the bulbs
to get wet after they were dug.
Mother began to cut dead flower-stalks from
the garden. Polly went to see how the apple-
pickers were getting on. She came back wink-
ing her eyes, for falling apples hurt when they
hit a little girl's head.
"Kerry, stop that!" exclaimed Mother.
" Oh, Polly, get him out of Grandma's
Polly ran to pull Kerry away by his collar.
" You are a bad dog," she told him. " See
what a hole you've made. First you tumbled
Grandma down the steps, and now you've dug
up her pansies. Naughty Kerry! "
Kerry sat down and put his head on one
THE BLUE JOHN 89
side, cocking his ears and looking at her so
wisely that Polly laughed.
" You have made me a great deal of work,"
she said. " I shall have to put back all this
dirt. No, you needn't try to help. You help
the wrong way."
The hole was really deep, for Mother had
not noticed when Kerry began to dig. Polly
took the trowel and began to push back the
earth. Suddenly the trowel struck something
that clinked. Polly supposed it was a stone
but when she looked closer she saw it was not
an ordinary garden kind of stone at all. It
was flat and shaped like a pear and smooth to
her touch. In the smaller end was fastened
a loop of metal.
"Mother, what's this?" called Polly, drop-
ping the trowel and running over to her
Mrs. Winsor took the stone and looked at it
90 THREE GATES
closely. " Well, of all things ! " she exclaimed.
" Where did this come from? "
" Kerry dug it out of the pansy bed."
" I believe it is Grandma's blue John she
lost so long ago," said Mother.
*' Her what? " asked Polly, who had never
heard this name.
" Take it to Grandma and she'll tell you.
It is something Grandpa gave her when they
were first married. When I was a little girl,
I remember her losing it and how badly she
felt. To think that Kerry has dug it up after
all these years ! "
Grandma was sitting in a porch-chair which
Uncle Jack had brought out for her. It was
a long kind of chair with a rest for her ankle.
" Look! " said Polly as she ran up. " See,
Grandma, what Kerry dug up for you.
Mother thinks it is yours."
Grandma sat up straight when she saw what
THE BLUE JOHN 91
Polly brought. "Why, Polly Winsor!" she
exclaimed, taking it in her hand. " If it isn't
the blue John your Grandpa bought me when
we went to England on our wedding-trip! "
Mother had wiped off most of the dirt on
the grass and Grandma now dusted the stone
with her handkerchief. Polly saw that it was
a pendant meant to wear on a chain. The
stone was a pretty grayish color with distinct
stripes of bluish-purple.
" What a funny name! " she said. " Why
is it a blue John, Grandma? What does it
" It came from a mine in central England
called the Blue John mine. This stone is fluor-
spar and it is found in quantities close to lead,
the mineral they use in making water-pipes."
Yes, Polly knew. In the kitchen of Three
Gates the cold water came through a dull-
colored lead pipe, while the hot water ran from
92 THREE GATES
one of shining brass. But she hadn't known
that lead was dug from the earth.
" The lead is used for other things than
pipes," explained Grandma, " and so is the
fluor-spar used for other things than pen-
dants. But at this place, the prettiest fluor-spar
came from the Blue John mine and it was often
made into jewelry and vases and ornaments.
I remember that the mine had thirteen shafts
and that the fluor-spar taken from each shaft
was a different stripe. Look, Polly."
Grandma held the blue John so it was be-
tween the sun and Polly. The stripes in the
stone looked dark, grayish-brown on a lighter
background. Then she held it so that the
sunlight fell from behind Polly, and the back-
ground stayed the same, but the stripes
changed to a blue-purple.
" Did you go down in the mine? " asked
THE BLUE JOHN 93
" Not in the Blue John. We went into one
of the lead mines. That especial mine was no
longer worked because an underground river
had flooded the shaft. A guide took Grandpa
and me down a long stair, over a hundred steps,
right down into the earth. We came to a plat-
form beside which a boat was floating on some
inky-black water. We got into the boat and
the guide told us to be careful not to put our
fingers over the edge because the passage where
we were going was just wide enough for the
" Was it dark? " asked Polly, with her gray
eyes big and wide.
" Very dark," said Grandma. " As we
moved along, the guide stuck lighted candles
on ledges in the sides of the passage. We
could see them reflected in the black water and
we could see the veins of lead in the rock walls
of the tunnel."
94 THREE GATES
" I don't think I should have liked it," said
Polly. " I don't believe I want to go on that
kind of a river."
" I was glad Grandpa was with me, for it
was strange and rather frightening," Grandma
admitted. " As the guide pushed the boat
along, we could hear a roaring sound which
grew louder and louder. Finally the under-
ground river broadened and became a lake in
a cave. The roof was far above our heads, all
black and glistening, and the roaring was very
loud. A big chain stretched across from one
wall of the cavern to the other, to keep the boat
from going any farther. And the roar was
the noise the river made pouring down the
shaft of the old mine."
" If the chain hadn't been there, would the
boat have gone down the hole with you and
" Probably," said Grandma. " I thought of
TEE BLUE JOHN 95
that, Polly, and I was glad the chain was there
and I hoped it would not break."
" And did it? " asked Polly anxiously.
'^ No," said Grandma. " It was a strong
chain. But I was pleased when we were safe
above ground. Grandpa bought me the blue
John for a remembrance. I must have lost it
at least fifteen years ago. I was gardening at
the time, and though I looked and looked, I
couldn't find it. To think that little Kerry
dug it out of the pansy bed ! "
" He did it because he was sorry he made
you fall yesterday," said Polly. " Didn't you,
Kerry whined and laid his head on
Grandma's knee. Then he sat down before
her and rapidly offered her first one front paw
and then the other, as though to tell her he
found the blue John on purpose to make up for
Tells about the Rainy-Day Drawer
MY, how hard it rained ! Showers came
down that morning, not at all like
gentle sprinklings from kindly-feel-
ing clouds, but in solid sheets of water. Polly,
with her nose pressed against the pane of the
sitting-room window, really couldn't see the
houses across the street, only a white mist of
Grandma was troubled because it was so wet
for Mother and Uncle Jack to start for town.
They didn't mind at all.
" What is Justin for? " asked Uncle Jack,
and he got out the car. He would park it by
the station and there it would stay, ready to
bring them home at night.
THE BAINTDAY DRAWER 97
" Suppose somebody steals it," said
Grandma. " That isn't a very safe place to
leave a car."
" He will be welcome," replied Uncle Jack.
" Nobody in his senses would steal Just-tin.
Who does, must indeed be hard up."
Mother put on her rubbers and her slicker.
She kissed Polly and Grandma and skipped
into Justin. Uncle Jack switched on the
lights and Polly saw the little red one at the
back glowing for an instant after the car itself
vanished into the storm.
"Do you think there will be school,
Grandma? " she asked.
"No," said Grandma, "I don't. I think
the bell will ring, but whether it does or not,
Polly, I don't want you to go out in weather
"I don't want to be absent," said Polly.
" Our room has the banner this week for the
98 THREE GATES
best record about being late or absent. Can't
I go if the bell doesn't ring? "
" We'll see how hard it rains," said
Polly looked anxiously at the clock. A
signal might sound at eight. That meant no
school for all grades below the high school.
Or it might ring at half-past eight, which
meant that everybody was expected to come
except the little children of the first three
grades. The clock hands stood at a quarter
Polly put on her pink apron and cleared the
table for Grandma. The rain beat against the
window by the breakfast-nook, and streams ran
down the glass and the screen. Grandma
opened the door to the cellar stairs.
"Oh, Polly, quick! Shut the door to the
dining-room. Mittens has a mouse ! "
Polly caught one glimpse of Mittens, charg-
THE RAINY-DAY DRAWER 99
ing up the cellar stairs, his ears laid straight
back, and a long gray tail dangling from one
corner of his mouth. She shut the door rapidly,
and shut herself on the dining-room side. Polly
loved Mittens and she knew mice were destruc-
tive, but all the same she didn't like her kitty
to catch them.
Grandma was praising Mittens and coaxing
him into the shed. Polly stayed where she was
until she heard the shed door click. Then she
went back into the kitchen.
" I suppose it is good of Mittens to catch
mice, but I wish he would not be so disagree-
able about their tails," she said to Grandma.
" To see one dripping from the corner of
Mittens' mouth does give me a queer feeling,"
" Perhaps the tail would choke him if it got
down his throat," said Polly thoughtfully.
" Oh, Grandma, there's the no-school signal! "
100 THREE GATES
Sure enough, close upon the stroke of eight
by the grandfather clock in the front hall,
came the sound of the fire-alarm. Polly and
Grandma both counted it. Three-three-three.
No school for anybody but the big boys and
girls of the high school.
" Goody! " sang Polly. " No school! No
school! " and she danced about the kitchen and
gave Grandma a hug.
" Why, I thought you liked to go to school! "
" I do," Polly admitted, '' but I like stormy
days at home. It's been pleasant for a long
time now and I haven't had a chance to play
with the rainy-day drawer. I think it's nice
to have special things for rainy days, don't you.
Grandma agreed. She said she had been
saving things to do the next time it rained.
After she had wiped and put away the
TEE RAINY-DAY DRAWER 101
pretty yellow breakfast dishes, Polly lingered
a little to see if Grandma's rainy-day plans
promised any interest. She didn't think they
did. It looked as though Grandma meant
only to clean the kitchen closet.
Polly called Kerry in from the porch, and
Mittens, now without the mouse-tail, from the
shed, and they all went into the sitting-room.
On one side stood a tall old-fashioned book-
case, and its base held a long drawer. This
was Polly's rainy-day drawer, and she never
played with its contents except during a storm.
Polly sat down flat on the floor before the
bookcase. Kerry stood beside her, wagging
his short tail. Kerry hoped that something of
interest and value to a little dog would emerge
from that drawer. Mittens sat on the rug,
industriously washing his face, a face that wore
a smug and virtuous expression, for Mittens
was very well pleased with himself.
102 THREE GATES
Polly opened the drawer and considered
what plaything to choose.
There was a box of plastic clay. Polly
looked at it and then at Mittens. The last
time she used that clay, she tried to mould a
cat. Uncle Jack said it looked like one which
had misspent all its nine lives.
There was a box of water-color paints.
Polly decided that she did not care to paint.
There was a box of paper dolls, some colored
paper, and a pair of blunt-pointed scissors.
Polly looked into this box and closed it again.
Paper dolls were much more fun when one had
Kerry saw something he wanted and he
promptly took it. Polly let him, for it was a
piece of red rubber shaped like a bone. One
of Uncle Jack's friends gave it to Kerry.
Polly didn't know how it got into her rainy-
day drawer, but of course Kerry had a right
Kerry saw something he wanted. Page 102.
THE BAINY-DAY DRAWER 103
to his own rubber bone. He lay down at once,
chewing it contentedly.
For three minutes longer, Polly sat gazing
into the drawer and then she decided what to
play. From the farther corner she took a box
and a little roll of canvas and sticks.
The box contained fifteen little china dogs
and five tiny china rabbits. There were three
families of dogs; Mrs. Spitz and the four Spitz
puppies; Mrs. Pug and the four Pug puppies;
Mrs. Mastiff and the four Mastiff puppies.
Mrs. Spitz and her family were white and
shaggy with plumy tails and blue eyes and
stand-up ears; the Pugs were yellowish-tan
with black markings and tightly curled tails;
the Mastiff family were darker brown and
stout with straight tails and loppy ears. Mrs.
Bun and her family were ordinary white rab-
bits with pink eyes.
Once Polly had seen a live spitz dog, but
104 THREE GATES
never a pug nor a mastiff. Grandma said she
didn't believe there were pug dogs now, but at
the time she married Grandpa they were
fashionable for pets.
All these china animals had belonged to
Grandma when she was a little girl, and they
used to stand on the sitting-room mantel in
front of the clock. Grandma told Polly how
long it took her to dust that mantel when so
many little figures had to be moved and ar-
ranged again. Once there had been a fox
family as well, and one of deer, but none were
Two of the Buns were invalids with broken
ears and paws, and one spitz puppy had lost
Polly took all the little animals from their
box and set them on the floor. "You have
been here long enough," she said. " Now, you
are going on a journey."
THE BAINT-DAY DRAWER 105
To the front of the pasteboard box cover
were fastened five strings with looped ends.
To the cover Polly harnessed the entire Mastiff
family, as the Eskimos harness their dogs.
" Your family ought to pull the sledge be-
cause you look more like the Arctic dogs," she
said to Mrs. Spitz, " but Grandma says Mrs.
Mastiff is bigger and stronger, so she and her
puppies must do it. But only one family be-
sides the Buns can ride. You and the Pugs
must take turns walking."
Mrs. Spitz had nothing to say. She and her
family took their places beside the sledge.
The road lay along the edge of the rug, and
a certain figure repeated in the border at
regular intervals, marked a progress of five
miles. To travel that distance took a con-
siderable number of actual minutes, because the
dogs in leash had to be drawn gently so as not
to upset them or their passengers. Then the
106 THREE GATE8
Spitz family were extremely slow walkers, only
one dog moving at a time. At the half-way
point, Mrs. Pug and her puppies must take
their turn walking. Considerable planning
Polly gave a sigh of relief when the caravan
finally reached the five-mile spot. " It is even-
ing," she said, " and time to camp. But we
have forgotten the tent! "
Back at the starting-point lay the tent and
" Mrs. Spitz, you must go back for it," an-
nounced Polly. " You are bigger than Mrs.
Pug. Mrs. Bun is too sick to walk so far, and
Mrs. Mastiff has pulled the sledge all the way.
She is tired."
Mrs. Spitz went back willingly and silently
and returned with the tent. Polly set it up, a
cone around a central pole, with a flap for a
door. First, the invalid Buns were tucked
THE RAINT-DAY DRAWER 107
into bed, and then, each family of dogs.
" Now, it is black night," said Polly.
" There is no moon and there are no stars.
Bats are flitting. Everybody is asleep. It is
growing very late. It is midnight. Now it
is getting early. It is earlier still. A rooster
is crowing. The clouds are pink. The sun is
rising. Mrs. Pug is awake."
Being awake, Mrs. Pug had to get up at
once and was directed to cook breakfast for
the entire camp. In the excitement over the
forgotten tent, it seemed that nobody thought
to build a camp-fire nor to prepare supper.
All were extremely hungry.
While Mrs. Pug was getting breakfast, Mrs.
Spitz set the table with round bits of paper,
the size of a dime, for plates. Table and plates
apparently dropped from the sky for the use
of the travelers, for they certainly hadn't ar-
rived with the camp baggage.
108 THREE GATES
After breakfast the animal caravan struck
its camp for another day's march. During the
morning they passed a large lake where every-
body, even the invalid Buns, went bathing.
That afternoon a terrible misfortune overtook
They were hardly a mile on their way from
the lake when, without a second's warning, a
hostile band of Indians swept down upon them,
overturning the entire Spitz family, shaking
the Buns from the sledge, and departing with
Mrs. Pug a shrieking captive.
Polly jumped up. " Kerry, you bad, bad
dog! Don't bite her in two. Chew your bone
and give Mrs. Pug to me! Let me have her
Then she looked at the window. The rain
had stopped, the sun was showing through the
clouds and there was a wee bit of blue sky.
That afternoon there would be school.
Tells about the Doll-House
ON the third floor of Polly's home was
the room which she thought the most
interesting one in the house. She
liked it better than the clean sunny kitchen
with the pleasant breakfast-nook; better even
than the sitting-room with its cheery open fire
and shabby rugs and cases of books and its
dark old furniture reflecting pools of light.
Half the attic room belonged to Mother and
half to Uncle Jack. Just about on the division
line stood a big stove, for the steam heat didn't
come up to warm the attic. This stove was
not at all pretty, being tall and round, but it
gave out a great deal of heat, so that it did its
full duty in the world. Near the stove were
110 THREE GATES
some old chairs for Grandma or for Polly or
for anybody who might come up to the work-
The northern half of the attic belonged to
Uncle Jack, and before the windows on his side
stood two long narrow tables made of planks
resting on high trestles. The top of one was
covered with heavy thick cardboard so that it
was perfectly level and smooth. On this,
Uncle Jack spread lengths of thin drawing-
paper, fastened down by thumb-tacks. The
paper came in big rolls. It was called " archi-
tects' paper," and crackled when it was un-
There was a high stool on which Uncle Jack
sometimes sat, but usually he preferred to
stand while drawing, and he kept his tools
spread out on the second table behind him.
These tools were interesting. There were dif-
ferent kinds of rulers, and compasses to draw
THE DOLL-HOUSE 111
circles, and queer-shaped transparent things
that helped one make any kind of an angle or
curved line. Sometimes Uncle Jack let Polly
take the curved guide and one of his odd, flat
pencils and draw figures on a piece of the
crackly paper. Polly once tried to count the
pencils and pieces of chalk on Uncle Jack's
table, but when she got up to thirty-seven, she
stopped. Screwed to the window frame was
a pencil-sharpener in which Polly put points
on the round pencils. Uncle Jack did the flat
ones with his knife.
There was a case with pigeonholes and a
great many rolled blue-prints sticking out.
Pinned all around on the walls were sketches
of doorways, and charcoal drawings, and even
illustrations torn from magazines.
Mother's things were over by the south
windows, and Polly thought them even more
interesting than Uncle Jack's. Grandma said
112 THREE GATES
they were certainly more messy. Mother had
a table and a bench and an old desk stuffed
full of papers, and a great many pots of paint
and dye and turpentine sitting on rough
shelves. Her part of the attic held a sink with
running water and she had more tools than
Uncle Jack. Some she used for cutting things
out of brass and copper, and some she used for
making rings and jewelry, and others when
she drew designs for lamp-shades or things
made from cloth. Mother sometimes borrowed
Uncle Jack's guides for curves and angles.
There was also a gas-plate so that she could
heat her dyes.
Altogether, Polly thought the workroom a
most interesting place, and so it was for any-
body who likes to do things with her fingers.
Polly knew that she must not touch anything
without asking first, because if she did, she
might spoil some pretty thing that was not
THE DOLL-HOUSE 113
finished. Usually, she was very careful about
Not long after the day there was no school,
Carola came home with Polly to stay till five.
That week. Jack Frost had visited Longfield
and behaved so badly that the trees blushed to
see his antics. All the way up Spring Street
the children walked in the fallen red and
yellow leaves, enjoying their rustle. When
they passed the Emerson house, Harry was
raking more leaves on the fire he had kindled
in the gutter. The smoky smell made one
think of sunsets and frosty nights.
Before Polly's house stood two maple-trees.
Their names were Robin Hood and Will
Scarlet. To his topmost twig Will was gor-
geous in flaming red, but Robin Hood stood
like his namesake, in Lincoln green.
" He always stays green," Polly told Carola.
" Sometimes his leaves have little bits of red
114 THREE GATES
spots or red edges, but that's all. Uncle Jack
says Will Scarlet puts out the sunrise."
For a while, the little girls played with
Kerry in the orchard and then they went into
the house. It was growing chilly outside.
Grandma was glad to see Carola. She gave
them each a cooky, and then they went into the
sitting-room to play with Polly's doll-house.
Uncle Jack had given it to her last
Christmas. He and Mother had made every
inch of it, and outside, it was Three Gates in
miniature, painted white, and with Robin
Hood in green and Will Scarlet in royal red
before it. The fence had three gates, and one
was shut and one half -open and the other wide-
open, just as the real ones usually stood.
Inside, it wasn't the same, but Polly didn't
mind. And if the back of any house were
swung open, it would look different. There
were a kitchen and a dining-room and a sitting-
THE DOLL-HOUSE 115
room, and upstairs were three bedrooms and a
The four-poster beds were made from
match-boxes and the tiny bureaus and chairs
and tables from pasteboard and thin wood.
One bedroom set was painted yellow, one pink,
and the other blue.
The dining-room was especially attractive
for all its furniture was cut from sheet tin, bent
into shape and painted a lovely shade of green^
The wee electric-light fixtures were made of
fine wire coated with green sealing-wax and
had glass beads for shades.
In the kitchen was a shiny black stove which
Mother had also cut from tin. Here, the walls
were painted yellow and the chairs were a
deeper yellow, trimmed with black. On the
shelves were little yellow and white jars and
Some of the house-fittings were made of
116 THREE GATES
modeling clay, and some of putty, and some of
sealing-wax. Curtains of silk to match the
different rooms draped the downstairs windows
and white muslin the upstairs ones. Rugs of
proper sizes and materials covered the var-
nished floors, washable ones for bedrooms and
bathroom, and nicer ones for the dining-room
Mother and Uncle Jack had almost more
fun making and furnishing that doll-house
than Polly had in playing with it. It cost
hardly anything except the love and time put
into it, but it was so pretty and artistic that it
interested even the grown-up people who saw
All the furniture fitted dolls an inch high,
and far too many dolls of this size lived in
Polly's playhouse. When such a number of
real people crowd into one house, the Board of
Health says some of them must move out.
THE DOLL-HOUSE 117
Polly and Carola took out of the house the
twenty-three dolls who lived in it. You can
see how shockingly they were crowded when
only six could go properly to bed.
First they changed the dresses of all the
(dolls, which was easy, for all the frocks were
cut alike, a little circle of cloth with holes for
head and arms. Bits of embroidery silk served
as sashes. Only ladies lived in Polly's house,
and they were quite up-to-date and didn't wear
many undergarments. It was not much of a
tax to keep them clothed.
After the dolls were dressed, they had a
" They can't all eat at once," said Polly.
" Only six can sit at the table."
" This is a different kind of party," said
Carola, " not a sitting-down party but one like
Mother gave last week. A standing-up kind,
with tea and cakes and candy on the table, and
118 THREE GATES
everybody walking around and talking and
holding their cups."
" Oh, yes," said Polly. " Grandma went to
that. Did you? "
" No," said Carola. " I had some of the
cakes afterwards. I stayed out with Wicky
and Nanna. Susan was in it. She showed
people where to put their wraps and then
helped pass the tea. She said it was deadly
" Grandma had a nice time," said Polly.
*' Susan is funny."
" Dutee says she's a poor fish," observed
Carola cheerfully. " So Susan said he was a
dumb-bell, and Mother said not to talk any
more. So they didn't — not till she left the
room. See, these are the visiting ladies, and
they must go and speak to the one who is giv-
ing the party. She's this one in pink silk.
And two must sit at the table to pour the tea
THE DOLL-HOUSE 119
and the coffee. This can be Susan and tell
them to take their wraps upstairs."
The ladies drank many cups of tea, so the
party was a success. And then the little girls
tired of playing.
"Is your mother making anything pretty? "
" Yes," said Polly, " a chiif on scarf for Aunt
Barbara's birthday. She was putting wax on
it last night."
" Wax on a scarf? Did she spoil it? " asked
" She meant to put it on. Come up to the
workroom and I'll show you."
They left the doll-house and ran up to the
attic. On a line stretched between two nails
hung a white chiffon scarf, and, as Polly
said, it was stiff with paraffin wax. Only a
border three inches wide was still soft and
120 THREE GATES
" I don't think it will be pretty," said Carola
" Yes, it will," declared Polly confidently.
" She made one for Grandma just this way,
and when it was all stiff with wax. Mother kept
pinching it up with her fingers and breaking
the wax all over the scarf. Uncle Jack asked
her if she 'spected it to look like anything at
all. And Mother said she did. And when she
had cracked it all up she dipped it in a dye-pot
and then she hung it up to dry again. When
it was dry she ironed it and ironed it between
pieces of paper. She used 'most all the brown
paper in the house, because newspaper
wouldn't do. And when she stopped, the wax
was all gone, and the scarf was soft and white
again with silver cobwebs all over it. Grandma
wore it to your mother's tea."
" Susan saw it," said Carola. " She said she
wished she had a pink one like it."
THE DOLL-HOUSE 121
" This one is to be pink," said Polly. " Aunt
Barbara likes pink things best."
Carola wandered over to Uncle Jack's table.
A long strip of paper was pinned down upon
it, with an outline showing the floor plan of a
house. This did not interest the children.
They returned to Mrs. Winsor's side of the
" What is this? " asked Carola peeping into
a white crockery dish on the far side of the
table. In it lay a flat piece of metal, heavily
coated with a brownish stuff. Where the
metal wasn't brown it was green in a sort of
design. The dish looked partly full of water.
" I don't know," said Polly. " I didn't see
Polly knew she ought not to touch anything
in the workroom, but what harm could she do
by giving that bit of metal a gentle poke with
her finger? Surely, that wasn't meddling.
122 THREE GATES
Polly poked her finger into the dish and
jerked it out again in almost the same motion.
She wiped the finger on the front of her dress,
the pretty yellow gingham she liked so much.
And where she touched the dress, the yellow
cloth turned very dark. The tip of her finger
also turned dark and began to feel queer.
Polly looked at the queer stain on her dress and
she looked at Carola and at her finger and be-
gan to cry. Then she ran to find Grandma.
Carola didn't know what had happened, but
she, too, was frightened. She ran after Polly.
A little later, Polly, her finger bandaged and
the smart subsiding, sat on Grandma's lap and
told her just what she did in the workroom.
It was ^ve o'clock, and Carola, happier since
she knew that Polly wasn't much hurt, had
" I didn't mean to meddle," ended Polly.
" I thought it was water in that dish."
THE DOLL-HOUSE 123
" You should never touch anything at all on
Mother's table. Suppose you had upset that
dish! Both you and Carola might have been
burned by the acid in it. It was strong enough
to eat a pattern into the metal Mother left in
it. That is why she covered with varnish the
part she did not want etched."
" I'll never, never touch anything again,"
** I don't think you will," said Grandma.
"And though I'm sorry you spoiled your
pretty dress, your finger would burn much
worse if you hadn't wiped it off so quickly.
I'm so thankful you didn't put it in your mouth
or eyes, Polly."
" Must we tell Mother? " Polly asked, her
head on Grandma's shoulder and her arms
around her neck.
" I think we had better tell her," said
Tells How Fair Rosamond Went Away
POLLY'S finger didn't stay sore very-
long, but the yellow stain remained for
some time. She told Mother all about
her meddling. Mother was sorry that Polly
forgot about touching things but glad that
nothing worse happened. She thought Polly
would surely remember not to interfere again.
She also thought she had been careless herself
in leaving so dangerous an acid sitting around
like so much harmless water.
Mother put a pocket over the stain on Polly's
dress. It was a most interesting pocket, in the
shape of a rabbit's head with long ears. All
the children thought it the nicest pocket ever
seen, and Polly liked the dress even better than
before the accident.
FAIR ROSAMOND 125
Besides the little dolls which lived in the
playhouse, Polly had three other children.
One was a small boy doll named Jacob; one
was a baby in long clothes, called Moses; and
the third was Fair Rosamond.
Fair Rosamond was Polly's favorite child.
Her face was like that of a real little girl and
she could not be broken, which was a great com-
fort to her mother. Doll-children have such
terrible falls that it is a wonder any of them
live till their mothers grow up. '
Polly loved Fair Rosamond dearly. She
was put to sleep every night in her little bed
close beside Polly's own. That doll's bed had
belonged to Mother when she was a little girl.
It had pillows with cases, and real sheets and
blankets, and a bedspread which Grandma
One afternoon in October, Carola was again
at Polly's house, and a third little girl named
126 THREE GATES
Dotty Appleton was playing with them.
Carola brought her doll to visit Fair Rosamond
and Dotty brought hers.
They planned to play out of doors for a time
and then go into the house. Fair Rosamond
and her two guests, whose names were
Calamity Jane and Elinor, sat in a row on a
comfortable seat of dried leaves and watched
their mothers play hide-and-seek. Kerry was
playing, too, after his own ideas.
The children did not think him very helpful,
because when either Carola or Dotty was " it,"
Kerry would run, prancing and yelping,
straight to where Polly was hiding. But he
would not help Polly find the other two. He
was so unfair about it that Carola and Dotty
agreed that finding Polly need count only one
out of every three times.
After a time, Dotty fell and bumped her
nose so that it began to bleed. Polly took her
FAIR ROSAMOND 127
at once into the house to find Grandma, and
Carola followed. By the time Dotty's nose
stopped bleeding and her face was washed, it
was nearly sunset, and time for visiting little
girls to go home.
All this while Fair Rosamond had been left
to entertain her guests out of doors. Polly
was sorry Fair Rosamond had been so thought-
less, but it was rather late in the day to mend
matters. Elinor and Calamity Jane had to go
home, each with her own mother. Polly went
out with them. She intended to put Rosa-
mond directly into bed because she had been
so rude to her callers.
Elinor and Calamity Jane were still sitting
on the couch of leaves but Fair Rosamond was
Polly couldn't believe her eyes. Though
twilight was falling, the two visitors were per-
fectly visible, though they had moved farther
128 THREE GATES
apart. Calamity Jane had even turned her
back impolitely upon Elinor.
Carola and Dotty helped Polly search.
They paid no attention to Mittens, who had
come out for his usual evening game with the
swallows. Mittens lay flat on his back in the
drive while the swallows swooped above him,
and he tried to bat them with his front paws.
Back and forth skimmed the birds, so close that
they seemed to touch the little furry feet, but
Mittens never hit them and probably the
swallows did not mean that he should. Nearly
every pleasant evening at sunset Mittens came
out for his frolic and, though there wasn't a
swallow in sight when he lay down in the drive,
they at once appeared. The game ended when
Mittens rolled over on his feet. Then the
swallows went away.
Carola and Dotty hunted for Fair Rosa-
mond imtil it grew so late that Grandma was
FAIR ROSAMOND 129
worried about their getting home before dark.
That part was all right because Mrs. Thorne
sent Dutee after Carola, and though Dutee
was rather cross because of coming, he told
Grandma that he would see Dotty safely home.
Neither did he think that Fair Rosamond was
any excuse for Carola not to start for home at
" You can make your excuses to Mother,
Miss," he growled.
Carola meant to do so. She was sure
Mother would understand how Polly grieved
over her child's disappearance.
Polly hunted till she couldn't see anything
distinctly, partly because it was so dark and
partly because the tears would keep coming
into her eyes.
"Do you think Mother will look for her
when she comes? " she asked Grandma, who
finally called her in.
130 THREE GATES
" I am sure she will," said Grandma. " She
will take the lantern from the shed and look all
around. But even if you don't find her till
morning, Fair Rosamond won't be hurt by
staying out. The stars are bright and it isn't
going to rain."
" She never slept outside of her bed before,"
said Polly tearfully.
" Then think what a great adventure it will
be for her to camp out overnight," comforted
Grandma. " Where's Kerry? "
Polly went to the door to call him. Kerry
rushed in, carrying a small brown door-mat,
which didn't belong to Three Gates.
" Dear me! " said Grandma, looking at it in
dismay. " What a naughty puppy ! Where
do you suppose he got that mat? "
Polly didn't know. Kerry might have
brought it from simply anywhere.
" After supper I shall have to telephone all
FAIR ROSAMOND 131
around the neighborhood and try to find out,"
said Grandma resignedly. " Hurry with the
table, Polly dear. It's getting late."
Polly set the table, but she dragged one foot
after the other in a way quite unlike her usual
happy self. Every time she thought of Fair
Rosamond a big choke came in her throat.
After supper Mother lighted the lantern and
Polly put on her coat and they looked all over
the orchard where the little girls had been play-
ing. Not a trace of Fair Rosamond could be
" What do you think has happened? " Polly
asked. Her throat was very choky now and
it was hard not to cry.
" I don't know," said Mother, " unless "
She did not finish her sentence but stood
looking at the little brown door-mat which
Kerry had presented to his family.
" Do you suppose, Polly," she asked at last,
132 THREE GATES
" that bad little Kerry took Fair Rosamond off
and exchanged her for this mat? "
" I think it's just what he did," answered
Polly, overcome by the thought and bursting
into tears. " He's a mean, mean dog, and I
sha'n't love him any more! "
" I'm afraid he did take her," said Mother,
" but he doesn't know any better. Fair Rosa-
mond may come home. Don't you remember,
Polly, when we taught you the street, and house
number so you would know where you lived if
you should be lost, you asked me to write Rosa-
mond's name and address on a paper for you
to put in the pocket of her dress? Is it still
"Yes, Mother, it is!" said Polly, cheering
up. " I know it's there because I put it back
last time Grandma washed her dress. Mother,
do you think she will come home? "
" I shouldn't be surprised to see her trotting
FAIR ROSAMOND 133
in to-morrow morning," said Mother, and
Polly managed an answering smile.
But Fair Rosamond did not come home in
the morning. Grandma telephoned to several
neighbors to ask if any one had received Polly's
child in exchange for a door-mat. Nobody
had missed the mat and nobody had seen Fair
On the whole, Polly was brave, and she
slapped Kerry only once, in a moment when
she was missing Fair Rosamond dreadfully and
he was teasing her to play. As soon as she
did it, she was sorry, for after all, she didn't
know that Kerry kidnapped her child.
Uncle Jack had no doubts whatever on the
subject. He told Kerry he was no longer an
angel puppy but a bad black-hearted burglar,
and he told Polly he would bring her another
doll as nearly like Fair Rosamond as he could
find in the city of Boston.
134 THREE GATES
Polly hugged him and said she'd rather not
have anybody in Fair Rosamond's place.
Uncle Jack was troubled by this answer.
When Polly was asleep he asked his sister what
he had better do.
" Let's just wait," said Polly's mother.
" Perhaps Fair Rosamond will yet come home.
Perhaps, after a while, Polly will feel like lov-
ing her twin sister."
The brown mat hung on a nail in the wood-
shed. Nobody could discover to whom it be-
Tells about the Street Fair
CAROLA told Polly that there was to
be a street fair in Longfield. She and
Polly were walking home from church
school when Susan came up behind them.
Susan was helping with the youngest children
in the church school that fall, and she liked
doing so better than she liked many things.
Mrs. Thorne told Polly's grandmother that she
was really discouraged about Susan, because
there was almost nothing Susan wanted to do.
But Susan liked the littlest children and the
children liked her.
Polly also, was fond of her. Susan and
Dutee were often extremely impolite to each
other, not to say quarrelsome, but Susan al-
136 THREE GATES
ways petted her little sister, and often included
Polly when doing things for Carola.
Susan was tall and slender and very pretty.
Uncle Jack said that Susan Thorne was the
prettiest young girl in Longfield, but he was
willing to wager ten cents that at sixteen,
Grandmother Thorne had been even prettier.
Nobody was living who had known Grand-
mother Thorne at that age, so nobody con-
tradicted Uncle Jack.
" I don't know what a street fair is," Polly
was saying when Susan overtook them.
" It's to raise money for the town hospital,"
Susan explained. " It's just like a church
fair, Polly, only it will be along a street. They
are going to take Spring Street, where you
live, and rope it off so no cars can go through,
and charge ten cents for admission. There
will be things to sell in the different houses and
on the lawns."
THE STREET FAIR 137
"My street!" exclaimed Polly. "What's
going to be in my house? "
" I don't know," said Susan. " But I'm to
manage the balloons, and you and Carola can
help sell them. The street will be spick and
spandy clean so people can dance on the as-
phalt. There's to be a hurdy-gurdy for
" I don't like that kind of music," said
"Neither do I," said Susan, "but it's
fashionable. Last month I went to a wedding
where they had a hurdy-gurdy."
" Right in the church? " shrieked the shocked
" No, goosey, at the reception, for dancing
on the lawn."
" When's it to be — the street fair, I mean? "
" Next Saturday," replied Susan.
138 THREE GATES
Polly gave a little skip of satisfaction. She
thought all the nicest things happened on
Saturdays. That was partly because it was a
day when Mother was at home to help them
" What's Dutee going to do? " Carola asked.
" Look after Silverheels," said her sister.
" Why, is Silverheels going to the street
fair? " Polly asked in astonishment.
" Yes," answered Susan. " Harnessed to
his cart to take children to ride. Ten cents a
ride will bring in a lot of dimes for the hospital.
I only hope Dutee tends to his job. I shall
be too busy with the balloons to keep after
When she reached home, Polly found that
Grandma and Mother knew all about the street
fair. They told her what part her house was
On the front lawn of Three Gates a cabbage
THE STREET FAIR 139
garden would grow, each paper cabbage con-
cealing in its heart a grab. At the front gate
some one would stand to collect the nickels.
The grab-seekers would pay at that gate, file
in, pluck each a cabbage, and leave by the side
Grandma said that she expected to see about
the lawn a great quantity of green and purple
paper, and that the ladies who were planning
the grabs did not realize how much work it
would be to make two hundred crepe-paper
On the kitchen porch of Three Gates there
was planned a cat show. People would pay
five cents at the back gate to go in and see the
This troubled Polly till she knew that the
visiting cats would come in boxes with wire
fronts. No cats would be loose to fight with
140 THREE GATES
She wondered how he would like the affair
and Mother suggested that Mittens be a part
of the show.
" He won't like so many people around,"
she said. " Don't you think he will be just as
happy if he is in a box for the afternoon? "
Polly thought it over and decided that Mit-
tens would be happier, and safer, too, for he
would not understand having strangers about
his home. He loved to lie in boxes and would
probably curl up and sleep.
That disposed of Mittens. Uncle Jack said
he would see about the box. He also said that
on the Saturday of the street fair, he should
take Kerry to a friend living in another part
of town. Three Gates and the fair could dis-
pense with Kerry's society. Things would
surely go more smoothly without him.
As the week passed, all the Spring Street
people worked hard to get ready for the fair.
THE STREET FAIR 141
Others from all over town kept coining, to plan
where the candy should be sold and where was
the best place for the popcorn and the peanuts
and the cake.
Of course everything depended on the
weather. Every one hoped for a pleasant day,
and when Saturday dawned not only sunny,
but warm, it seemed as though October itself
were interested in the Longfield hospital and
wanted the fair to be a success.
Very early the street was astir. First came
the town workmen. They swept that street by
inches, and then came the fire engine and
pimiped water all over the asphalt. Nobody
had ever seen it so clean before. The work-
men set barriers at each end so that nothing
could drive in and soil the street before the
This happened before Polly was dressed,
and during breakfast she kept popping up to
142 THREE GATES
see the men who came to arrange outdoor tables
and to string wires along the trees for colored
lights in the evening. Interesting things hap-
pened every moment. Polly's friends all en-
vied her because she was living right in the
middle of the street fair.
When four young ladies began to plant cab-
bages on the front lawn of Three Gates, Polly
almost burst with excitement. Each paper
cabbage was tied to a slender sharp stick stuck
into the turf. Never did a regular vegetable
garden boast such even rows.
Mother's share had been to make the pretty
posters telling people about the fair. She
made them early in the week, and Polly had
seen them in the shop-windows and tacked on
the bulletin-board before the Town Hall.
Grandma's clever fingers made a great many
cunning white rolls for the supper to be served
in the garden of the Freeman house. Polly
TEE STREET FAIR 143
secretly hoped that a few would be left over
for the family.
No cats were expected till about two o'clock,
the hour when the fair was to open. Polly
wondered how Susan and the balloons were
" May I go and see about the balloons? " she
" After lunch," said Mother. " Come and
eat now, Polly. It's early, but we want to get
Interesting things were to be seen from the
breakfast-nook where they lunched; a tent go-
ing up in the Sanborn yard for a fortune-
teller, the front of the Roberts house being
strung with tiny flags of all nations, and the
wide porch set with tables for afternoon tea.
When Polly reached the Thorne place, she
found Carola and Dutee and Susan and Nanna
and Wicky and Frank, the chauffeur, all
144 THREE GATES
clustered just inside the garage door. From
that door came a hissing, piercing noise.
It was the kind of noise that makes you stop
your ears with your fingers. Wicky and
Carola were doing it, and Polly stopped hers
at once, for she did want to see what was going
on in that garage. Before the door, Beware-
the-dog was prancing crazily, uttering ago-
nized yelps. He was almost tying himself into
bow-knots in his excitement.
Inside, Susan and Dutee both appeared to
be talking, though nobody could hear one word
they said. Frank, with a resigned expression
on his face, held the nozzle of a rubber tube
attached to a big cylinder and was filling the
balloons with gas.
Polly's fascinated eyes watched him take a
limp wrinkled bit of blue or red or yellow
rubber and slip it on the nozzle of the pipe,
which at once blew it into a wonderful big
THE STREET FAIR 145
colored bubble. Frank twisted its neck and
handed it to Nanna. She slipped an elastic
band over the neck to keep it tight. Susan
then took the balloon and tied on a long cord.
Dutee was grouping the finished balloons in
bunches, which bobbed about his head and
about the roof of the garage in an absorbing
riot of colored globes.
Every now and then some balloon had a spot
of thinner rubber or Frank filled it too full.
Then an explosion was added to the hissing
and only a torn fragment of colored rubber
remained of the shining globe. It had
vanished like a soap-bubble.
Susan rushed out with a bunch of balloons
bobbing above her head like many-colored
grapes. She shoved them into the big limou-
sine standing outside the garage. It was
already nearly full of inflated balloons.
" You don't need to stand here and listen to
146 THREE GATES
that noise ! " she shrieked to Carola and Polly
Of course they didn't need to, but who could
leave so fascinating a spot?
At last came a lull, for the car would hold
no more balloons. Frank shut off the gas with
a sigh of relief and came out to drive the car
down the back way to the Richards house,
where the balloons were being anchored to
trees. Nurse grabbed Beware-the-dog by the
collar, Susan and Dutee crowded into the front
seat with Frank, and the limousine full of gay
balloons swung down the drive. To-day the
Thorne car was having small chance to rest its
wheels. A great peace fell upon the garage.
Even Beware-the-dog ceased yelping and lay
down, exhausted and panting.
" That's the third load," said Carola, un-
stopping her ears in relief. " How many
more are there to blow up, Nanna? "
THE STREET FAIR 147
" About fifty," the nurse replied. " I shall
certainly be glad when they are done."
" So shall I," said Wicky, so solemnly that
Carola and Polly both hugged him, and Be-
ware-the-dog jumped up and licked his face.
" Susan's 'most had a fit," said Carola.
** Frank had to drive to three towns before he
could get the right kind of gas. And it's a
lot of work to blow up three hundred balloons."
" My, what a many! " said Polly, and then
she said she must go home. Mittens was yet to
be found and put in his box for exhibition.
Carola was worrying about Silverheels. She
thought he should be harnessed and in attend-
ance at the fair. Eight or ten children might
already be waiting for a drive.
" It isn't necessary for Silverheels to be
there exactly at two," said Nanna. "Dutee
will see to him as soon as the balloons are out
of the way."
148 THREE GATES
When Polly reached home three cats had ar-
rived for the show, each in a comfortable box.
The boxes bore cards with the names of the
" Mittens has eaten his dinner and gone up-
stairs for a nap," said Mother. " His box is
ready, if you'll bring him, Polly."
Polly found the dear pussy asleep on the
foot of Mother's bed. He purred all the time
she was carrying him down and while he was
being put in his box, to which Mother had
fastened a card.
" MITTENS "
" Entered by Pauline Winsor."
When on the porch. Mittens paid no atten-
tion to the other cats. He liked his box and
he was sleepy so he curled up for another nap.
Even balloons were forgotten when two men
dressed in Scotdi kilts began to parade the
THE STREET FAIR 149
street, stepping pridefully in time to the bag-
pipes they played. Such queer-looking affairs
to be musical instruments!
All the rest of the afternoon so many and
such interesting things constantly happened
that Polly felt confused. And she didn't
know so many people lived in Longfield as
came to that street fair.
One by one the red and yellow and green and
blue balloons floated away above the heads of
happy children. One by one the two hundred
cabbages on the lawn of Three Gates dis-
appeared in the hands of grab-seekers.
Grandma admitted that the matter of dis-
carded paper was better than she feared.
Cunning little Silverheels trotted up and down
the street a dozen times an hour, his basket cart
full of little boys and girls. Silverheels was
doing his best for the hospital.
Polly and Carola helped Susan with the
150 THREE 0ATE8
balloons until the last one floated away.
"Thank goodness, that's over!" said Susan,
just as though she hadn't been having as much
fun as the little girls.
"Let's look at the cat show," said Carola.
" I want to see the kittens you said had come."
They started for Three Gates but suddenly
" There's that queer table!" she exclaimed.
" I saw the sign * White Elephant Table ' and
I asked Grandma why * white elephants ' and
she said it was just things that cluttered and
you didn't want any longer. Let's look at it."
Very uninteresting things, — white elephants,
— ^the little girls thought as they inspected the
table. Plates, ugly vases, all sorts of odds and
ends, and yet people were buying them.
During the time Polly was selling balloons,
the cat show increased to thirty boxes and the
judges made their inspection. To Polly's sur-
THE STREET FAIR 151
prise, she found a blue ribbon tied to the box
where Mittens lay lazily opening and shutting
his big yellow eyes.
" The judges said he was the handsomest
and best cared-for cat of his class," explained
Arthur Kendall, who had charge of the show.
Polly nearly burst with pride to have her
pet thus honored. Blue ribbons decorated two
other boxes, one containing a lovely white
Angora belonging to Miss Emily Parks; the
other, four cunning tiger-striped kittens play-
ing about their proud mother.
" Have many people come to see the
kitties? " Polly asked, and learned that Arthur
already had nearly seven dollars in nickels, and
the cat show did not close till six. He ex-
pected to take in at least ten dollars.
At six, Silverheels, too, finished his task.
He had earned fifteen dollars for the hospital.
When darkness fell. Mother let Polly walk
152 THREE GATES
the length of the street to see the colored lights
and the people dancing to the music of the
Then, it seemed, little girls who lived on
Spring Street went to bed just as though
Three Gates were the usual quiet home. Mit-
tens was to stay indoors also, and as consola-
tion to both. Mittens wore his blue ribbon and
was allowed to curl on Polly's bed until
Mother should come up. Then he must go
down to his cushion in the kitchen.
Tells about the Chestnut Picnic
A WEEK later, Jack Frost paid a second
visit to Longfield. He took all the
flowers from the gardens and the ferns
from the woods. The leaves were pinched
from all the trees except the evergreens.
Those he let alone. Little they cared for
frosty nights or nipping winds. They in-
tended to keep their green dresses all winter.
But with all the damage. Jack Frost did
one helpful thing. He opened the chestnut
burrs so that their shiny nuts fell to the ground.
Not many chestnuts grew near Longfield,
but Mr. Thorne owned a wood-lot in the real
country and upon it were a number of nut-
trees. Every year the Thorne children went
chestnutting, and usually invited their friends.
154: THREE GATES
Up to this time, the chestnut picnic had been
chiefly for Susan and Dutee. This year,
Susan didn't wish to go. She said she was
tired of picnics and she didn't like chestnuts,
anjrway. Mrs. Thorne did not try to persuade
her. She hoped Susan would change her
mind, but Carola should go and Polly Winsor
was to be invited. There would be plenty of
room in the big car for Mrs. Thorne and the
chauffeur, for Dutee and Harry Emerson and
Arthur Kendall, for Polly and Carola and the
lunch. Even then there would still be room
for Susan and her friend Leslie Peterson.
Susan wouldn't change her mind and she
didn't go. Carola and Polly thought she was
That Saturday morning shone glorious, with
a cool breeze and a warm sun. Polly didn't
know the road to the chestnut grove and she
thought it lovely. Many farmhouses sat along
TEE CHESTNUT PICNIC 155
its edges and there were cows in the fields,
black-and-white Holsteins and cream-colored
Jerseys and red Ayrshires, and just plain cows
which didn't belong to any important cow
families. They had kind faces, and probably
gave plenty of milk for the children to drink.
After a time the farms grew less frequent
and the country became more hilly. The state
roads changed to gravel ones and then to
narrow wood roads and finally there was only
a cart-path. Frank stopped the car.
" We could go a little farther," he said to
Mrs. Thome, " but the road ahead looks
washed, and I must keep the car where I can
" We are almost there," said Mrs. Thome.
" We will walk the rest of the way."
Dutee, Harry, and Arthur piled out in a
hurry, but they took their full share of the
packages and baskets. Dutee expected to get
156 THREE GATES
SL great many nuts. Mrs. Thorne had her
doubts. The trees were old and not bearing
so well, and one of the largest had fallen the
previous winter. And one never could be sure
that other people would not find the trees and
take the nuts, though they belonged to Mr.
To reach the chestnut grove one walked
right into the woods, wild woods with dried
leaves of many winters underfoot, and under-
brush and fallen branches, quite unlike the
tidy, cleaned-up woods near Longfield.
The boys ran ahead out of sight, but Carola
and Polly stayed close to Mrs. Thorne. Get-
ting lost in that place was a different matter
from mistaking one's way in Longfield. Much
good it would do Polly to know her mother's
name and her own, and exactly where she lived,
if she didn't meet a single person to whom to
TEE CHESTNUT PICNIC 157
"All right, Mother!" Dutee shouted back.
" Nobody has taken the nuts."
Very tall those chestnut-trees stood, so it
was fortunate that nearly all the burrs had been
pried open by Jack Frost's busy fingers.
Had they still been tight-shut, the boys would
have wanted to climb the trees to shake down
the burrs, and when three boys climb chestnut-
trees, there are three chances that somebody
may tumble and bump a head or perhaps break
Polly and Carola each carried a little basket.
What fun it was to hunt in the fallen leaves
for the shining nuts and poke into crannies
with a long stick to rout out any trying to
The boys left the loose chestnuts for the
little girls to collect, and filled their baskets
with burrs which had fallen unopened. They
sat on flat rocks and pounded the prickly burrs
158 THREE GATES
open, and did not seem to mind when the
prickles stuck in their fingers.
Mrs. Thorne also pounded burrs open and
divided between Carola and Polly the nuts they
contained. Presently Frank came up. He
had locked the car safely and now he wanted
a share of the fun. He climbed a tree at once
because he saw a very desirable bunch of burrs
which had not fallen. When he reached a
good place, he braced himself and took hold of
a limb and shook it as hard as he could shake,
and down came the burrs.
Polly was surprised to find that in the
greenest burrs the nuts were not dark brown
as she was accustomed to think of chestnuts,
but almost pure white, or white spotted with
brown. Mrs. Thorne told her that all the nuts
had once been white, but as they ripened they
grew darker and their shells became tougher
THE CHESTNUT PICNIC 159
Lunch time came quite soon, for they had
driven nearly sixty miles from Longfield. The
boys and Frank collected twigs and sticks to
build a fire on a flat rock. The rock had a
deep crack, so that a frying-pan could be
balanced on its edges and the fire built below.
The rock was already blackened by smoke be-
cause the Thornes always used it for a fireplace
when they held a chestnut picnic.
The frying-pan was large, and that was
lucky, because it could hold such a quantity of
bacon and eggs. Mrs. Thorne lost count of
how many eggs she cooked and passed over to
the boys or to Frank. Every one of those three
boys seemed to be entirely hollow inside, which
is nothing unusual for boys.
But they didn't spend all their time eating
bacon and eggs and lamb chops. Harry cut
two big loaves into a great many slices of bread,
and Arthur and Dutee buttered them. There
160 THREE GATES
seemed little for Carola and Polly to do, so
they sat still and let the boys wait on them.
Frank attended to the kettle of hot chocolate
at the upper end of the blaze and served it in
white enamel cups with convenient handles.
Instead of sugar, there were marshmallows.
Carola and Polly each had two marshmallows
and thought that was rather reckless until
Carola saw that her brother had taken four.
"Mother, look at Dutee!" she exclaimed.
" He put four marshmallows in his cup."
" Telltale," said Dutee.
Mrs. Thorne didn't seem to hear either of
them. At times, mothers are conveniently
Carola really didn't care how sweet Dutee
chose to make his chocolate. It was so lovely
and warm there in the golden October sunshine
with the spicy odor of the woods and of the
pleasant little fire. Besides, Carola knew that
THE CHESTNUT PICNIC 161
the big thermos jar beyond Polly was full of
caramel ice-cream, and that there were little
cakes with vanilla and chocolate icing to eat
with it. Oh, a very superior picnic — this
When the cakes were finished and every
particle of the ice-cream was scraped from the
jar, they burned the paper plates and paper
napkins and the wooden spoons. Only the
thermos jar and the kettle and frying-pan and
cups remained to take home. Except for
crumbs, which the ants would enjoy, and an-
other coat of black on the rock fireplace, noth-
ing was left to tell the tale of the picnic.
Back to the chestnuts went everybody. Mrs.
Thorne would not let any more burrs be
knocked off the trees. She wanted some left
for the squirrels. Dutee said the squirrels
liked acorns just as well and that there were
plenty of oak-trees in the woods. When Polly
162 THREE QATE8
heard this, she felt better about the chestnuts.
She did not wish any squirrel to go hungry be-
cause she had taken too many.
At four o'clock, Mrs. Thorne said they must
start for home. Eighteen quarts of nuts had
been collected. How fragrant they smelled,
and how satiny smooth they felt to one's
A rather tired party came back to the big
limousine. Polly was glad to see that Frank
had already turned it around and that it was
headed for home. She and Carola and Arthur
and Mrs. Thorne all sat on the soft cushioned
back seat, and Dutee and Harry on the little
pull-out chairs. Frank sat alone in front.
When they came out of the woods the sun
was low, and before they reached Longfield it
was dark and Frank had turned on the head-
lights. Just as they were leaving the real
country, Frank stopped the car so suddenly
THE CHESTNUT PICNIC 163
that everybody was jerked forward and the
" Keep still, everybody I " exclaimed Dutee.
"Don't move! There's a skmik mider the
Every one sat as though frozen. Polly and
Carola peered from the window.
" Are you sure it is under us? " whispered
Frank pointed silently to the left side of the
road. Coming slowly from under the car and
walking along in the wheel-track, in the full
glare of the lights was the pretty little black-
and-white animal which had given them such
a surprise. Not hurrying in the least, it picked
its way to the stone wall by the side of the road
and went over it into an orchard.
Frank started the engine and everybody be-
gan to talk. Carola thought it a pity that so
pretty a little animal should be so disagreeable.
164 THREE GATES
Dutee said he was going to get a baby skunk
and tame it, and Harry said he knew a boy who
had done it.
And while they were all talking, the big car
slipped silently into Longfield, to leave Polly
at Three Gates with the memory of a lovely
day behind her, and two quarts of chestnuts
to share with her family.
Tells about Polly's Birthday Present
POLLY'S birthday was the tenth of
March, and yet, on the first of Novem-
ber Mother took her into town to choose
For Polly's birthday gift from Mother was
spread over the whole year and many people
would consider it the nicest gift that could
come to any one, little or big. The present
was a new book on the first day of every month
of the year, and Polly might choose the book.
That didn't mean that Polly went into town
every month. Sometimes, when she was in the
children's department of the big city book-
store, she had hard work to choose between
several books. When this happened, Polly's
166 THREE GATES
second choice usually appeared the next time
the date came for a new book. Sometimes
Polly found a book in the Longfield Public
Library which she felt was written on purpose
The Longfield children had a room in the
library which belonged entirely to them.
Grown people might come in and look around,
and the children were polite to them, but they
were not expected to stay. The room belonged
to the children, and such a pretty room it was,
with low tables and chairs and no high shelves
where the most desirable books could perch.
Every shelf in the children's room was within
easy reach. Sunshine streamed across it and
the windows opened on a green lawn. On
the walls himg lovely pictures and on the end
of a bookcase stood a beautiful little model of
the Santa Maria, the ship which brought Co-
lumbus to America. Cretonne curtains, gay
POLLY'S BIRTHDAY PRESENT 167
with red and yellow apples, draped the win-
dows. Best of all, the two young ladies in
charge loved the children and liked to have
them come. Polly didn't know which of the
two she would rather find behind the desk.
Miss Burt wore a yellow smock because she had
dark hair and eyes. Miss Canfield was fair, so
her smock was green. Both smocks had collars
and cuffs of the bright cretonne which hung
at the windows.
A big cat named Henry of Navarre helped
manage the children's room. To catch mice
in the library basement was his real duty, but
he attended to this at night. During the
afternoon he usually slept on the window-seat
or on one of the low tables. The first children
to arrive at the library after school at once
chose the table where Henry lay, and sat down
to read where they might pet him between the
turning of pages. His fur suit was coal-black,
168 THREE GATES
except for three inches of snow-white at the
end of his tail.
Miss Burt told the children that their kitty
was named for a French king, Henry, the
soldier of Navarre, who, long ago, rode into
battle, wearing a suit of armor and a helmet
to protect his head from swords and arrows.
This was long before the time of muskets and
cannon. Above his helmet rose a plume of
white feathers, and where the white plume led.
King Henry's soldiers followed and fought for
Polly liked the library cat, but didn't think
him so nice as her Mittens. His fur was not
nearly so soft and silky. Henry was what
Polly called a " hard " cat to touch, but he was
purry and gracious to everybody who came to
the children's room.
Miss Burt kept the books with the loveliest
pictures on shelves by themselves, and there
POLLY'S BIRTHDAY PRESENT 169
was a sign above the case: " Only Clean Hands
May Touch These Books."
So, whenever she went to the library, Polly
was most careful to see that her hands were
absolutely clean, in order that she might take
these books. Miss Burt knew all about Polly's
birthday present and how there was a book to
choose each month. She took pains to show to
Polly any new book she thought Polly might
like to own. During October, Polly had fallen
in love with one of these.
Its name was " The Lost Merbaby," and it
had charming silhouette illustrations showing
the fishes and the mermaids and the cunning
merbaby and the kind fisher-people who took
care of it when the careless little mermaids lost
Miss Burt gave Polly the book to read and
Polly liked it so much that she was two hours
that day getting home from the library, when
170 THREE GATES
it needn't have taken more than fifteen
minutes. Grandma was shocked. She said
that Polly might have been run over at any
Polly told Grandma that she didn't read
when crossing the streets, but she didn't tell
her how she had walked into one lamp-post, one
baby-carriage, three trees, and a fat policeman,
while she read that book through twice.
She read it five times more before taking it
back to the library. Mother also enjoyed the
story and loved the illustrations. She agreed
that it was a nice book for Polly to add to her
So this morning they were going into the
city to buy the birthday book and some new
shoes and a new winter coat and hat for Polly.
You can see that the occasion was really im-
Mother thought they had better take the
POLLY'S BIRTHDAY PRESENT 171
early train because the stores would be less
crowded in the morning. Too many people
would be there, anyway.
Polly liked to ride on the train. This Satur-
day morning it was disappointing because
there were not enough seats for the passengers.
She had to sit on Mother's lap and did not have
a very good view. A journey is always more
interesting if one sits next to the window.
The coat was the first thing to consider.
Polly was far more interested in the big dolls
dressed in the new clothes for children than
she was in the coat itself. Mother was not
easily suited, and Polly was growing tired of
having coats tried on before Mother found one
she liked. Then Polly stopped looking at the
dolls and the other children and, for the first
time, looked at the coat she had on.
The soft pretty cloth was of a color not quite
brown and certainly not gray, but with grayish
172 THREE GATES
shades in it. It fitted nicely, but left room for
"Do you like this one?" Mother asked
Polly said she did, and that it was comfort-
able and plenty warm enough.
" It is the pick of the lot for line and ma-
terial," said the salesgirl, when Mrs. Winsor
said she would take it.
" What did she mean? " Polly asked as the
girl took the card Mrs. Winsor gave her and
went away to copy the address.
" That it is pretty and well-made," said
" The merbaby next? " asked Polly, without
another thought for the coat. What is a new
coat in comparison with a new book?
" Shoes next," said Mother. " They won't
take long, just high moccasin shoes for school
POLLY'S BIRTHDAY PRESENT 173
" I hope I don't have to try on so many shoes
as coats," said Polly.
She didn't. The first pair fitted.
" A hat next," said Mother.
Such a pretty hat, when Mother found what
she liked! Not exactly the same color as the
coat, but a shade lighter, and with one pink
rose in the precise place where a rose would
do the most good. Carola would like Polly's
new coat and hat. All the little girls thought
Polly had pretty clothes.
" And now the merbaby? " Polly inquired
" And now, the merbaby," said Mother, and
they started for the bookstore.
Too many people in town that Saturday
morning, even though it were still quite early!
Polly held Mother's hand tightly. She had no
intention of getting lost, though she could tell
a kind policeman just where she lived.
174 THREE GATES
The lady in the bookstore knew Mother and
smiled at Polly.
" And what is to be the birthday book this
month? " she asked.
Polly's cheeks were pink with excitement as
she told her.
" Oh, that is a nice choice," said the book-
store lady, and she brought Polly a copy of the
" Lost Merbaby."
" Here it is," she said. " I'll wrap it for
you, and then I want to show you some of the
new books which are coming in for Christmas."
Polly's eyes shone. Christmas meant an
extra book from Mother and usually one from
Uncle Jack. She looked eagerly at the new
Doctor Dolittle book and at the new book of
verses which Christopher Robin's father had
written for him. Above her head the book-
store lady and Mother smiled at each other.
" If you have other errands to do, Mrs. Win-
POLLY'S BIRTHDAY PRESENT 175
sor, leave her here with the books. I shall be
right around all the time."
"Would you like to stay here while I do
some more shopping? " Mother asked.
Polly decided to stay.
" Take off your coat, then," said Mother,
" and be very careful of the books."
" I shall read only this one about Christo-
pher Robin," said Polly, as she settled herself
in the chair beside the bookstore lady's desk.
Mrs. Winsor was gone almost an hour but
she came back to find Polly still reading.
" I have decided about my December book,"
said Polly as soon as she saw her. " I just
must have the new Christopher Robin book.
" I'll remember," said the bookstore lady.
" Come again, Polly. Here, don't forget your
merbaby. On December first, Christopher
Robin will be waiting for you."
Tells about the Library Play
GRANDMA never discovered to whom
the little brown door-mat belonged.
It still himg in the shed, awaiting an
owner. And still Fair Rosamond did not
Polly often thought of her lost child. She
concluded that it had been useless to provide
Fair Rosamond with her name and address
written on a paper in her pocket. She said so
" Perhaps the person who found Fair Rosa-
mond couldn't read," suggested Carola.
Polly couldn't credit this idea. In her ex-
perience, only very little children were unable
to read. But of course, it was possible that
THE LIBRARY PLAY 177
such a child found Fair Rosamond and threw
away the paper in her pocket.
Grandma thought the paper could not have
been there. What Mother thought, she didn't
tell Polly. It was too terrible to put into
words that Kerry had simply chewed up that
"Would you like Calamity Jane to make
you a visit? " Carola asked. " She may come
if you want her."
Polly didn't like Calamity Jane, though she
was too polite to say so. She said that Jacob
and Moses kept her too busy to entertain a
visitor just then. Calamity Jane in the place
of Fair Rosamond! Her very name was
Dutee and Susan were arguing in the next
room and their remarks puzzled Polly. She
thought them over on the way home.
" Mother," she asked, at the supper table.
178 THREE GATES
*' what is the least common multiple? Dutee
wanted Susan to help him find it."
Uncle Jack laid down his fork. " Great
Scott! " he exclaimed. " Haven't they found
that thing yet? As long ago as I was in school
they were hunting for it."
Mother and Grandma laughed and Polly
looked at Uncle Jack. She didn't in the least
know what he meant, but from his face she
knew he was joking.
" It is a lesson in nimibers, Polly," Mother
Polly smiled politely, but she wasn't amused.
A wave of longing for Fair Rosamond swept
Mittens seemed to know she was lonely, for
after supper he was very frisky, and batted
his tiny Teddy bear about the sitting-room
floor, crouching low and springing upon it as
though he were a real tiger.
THE LIBRARY PLAY 179
" Mittens, I am glad you are only a foot
long," Grandma said. " If you were twelve
feet in length, I should really be afraid of you."
Mittens twelve feet long! Polly tried to
think how he would look that size. He would
stretch the width of the kitchen. No, she pre-
ferred him the size he was, and that size seemed
precisely right when she went upstairs at half-
past seven to find him curled very neatly in
Fair Rosamond's empty bed.
Next morning at school. Miss Rand talked
to the children about books. The week, it
seemed, was " Good Book Week." One by
one. Miss Rand spoke of interesting books and
asked how many of the children knew them.
Some knew three or four and some didn't
know any. Dotty and Louise and Carola and
Polly knew nearly all.
Miss Rand then told the children when they
went home, to count the books, each child in
180 THREE GATES
her own home. To-morrow, she would ask
how many they found.
Polly was dismayed, for there were a great
many books in Three Gates. Many had be-
longed to Grandpa Clifford, who had been
minister of the white church where Polly went.
Many had belonged to Daddy. Mother had
ever so many, and so had Uncle Jack. Polly
herself owned four shelves full of books. Books
were in every room of the house except the
bathroom, and one sometimes got in there.
Even the kitchen held its share. Uncle Jack
said they might not have coal, but they surely
" I can never count them all," she said to
Carola at recess.
" Neither can I count Daddy's library," said
Carola. " It's a whole room full of books."
" Let's ask Miss Rand," Polly suggested.
Miss Rand saw their difficulty at once.
THE LIBRARY PLAY 181
Polly and Carola might count just their own
books and be excused from those belonging to
other people in their families.
So the next morning, Polly reported the
seventy-six books which were her very own.
Carola had one hundred and five, " but some
were once Susan's," she said.
All the other children made their reports.
Miss Rand was pleased. There were both
books and magazines in every home repre-
sented by the second grade.
Book Week was also being celebrated at the
children's room in the Public Library. Miss
Burt and Miss Canfield wrote a play for the
children to act.
In the play, a little girl named Dorothy, fell
asleep over her lessons, and while she slept, the
different characters in the stories she liked best
crept out of their books and came alive and
talked with each other. Alice came from
182 THREE GATES
" Alice in Wonderland," and Kit and Kat
from the " Dutch Twins," and Curdie from the
fairy tale, and Tom Canty from the " Prince
and the Pauper," along with characters from
other books which Dorothy liked to read.
Polly was Heidi, the little Swiss girl, and
Mother made her the proper kind of dress, just
like the picture in the book.
Carola couldn't be in the play, because of a
music-lesson, but Dotty was a cuckoo clock be-
hind the scenes and cried " Cuckoo! " to mark
The play was on Friday after school, and
mothers and other children were invited.
Grandma had promised to come, since Mother
When the curtain rose, there sat Dorothy,
trying to study at her desk. Soon she fell
asleep to dream of her story-book friends. On
either side the books stood in orderly rows.
THE LIBRARY PLAY 183
looking like books on a shelf, with their dif-
ferent-colored backs and neatly lettered titles.
But, at the proper moment, each character
pushed aside the back of his book, which was
really a cloth curtain, and came out to talk with
the little people from the other stories.
Polly thought the rehearsals for the play
great fun. To be sure, she had to keep very
still behind her curtain, crouched ready to
spring out of her book when the time came.
A little Greek girl named Tanis took the
part of Dorothy and she slept so conscien-
tiously, with her head pillowed on her arm, that
up to the last rehearsal, she had never even
seen the other children in the play. At the
dress rehearsal, she asked Miss Burt if she
might open her eyes and look, just enough to
see the characters pop out of their books. Of
course, in the real play, before the mothers, she
wouldn't peep once.
184 THREE GATES
Miss Burt said she might open her eyes. It
would be a pity for Tanis to be in that play and
only hear the story-book people, not see them.
A little Russian boy, Boris Troubotsky, was
Tom Canty. His family was very proud that
Boris was to have a part in the library play,
and his father at once bought him a new pair
of shoes. Boris brought them to the library
beforehand to show Miss Burt. The shoes
were bright yellow and squeaked loudly when
he walked, but Miss Burt said Boris might
On the afternoon of the play, not only his
father and mother, but his six brothers and
sisters, including the baby, came to see Boris
wear the new yellow shoes and be Tom Canty,
coming out of the " Prince and the Pauper."
They knew the story, for Boris told it to them,
putting it into Russian so they could under-
stand it better.
TEE LIBRARY PLAY 185
Henry, the library cat, took part in the play.
" Puss-in-Boots " was one of the stage books,
and at the proper moment, to the great delight
of the audience. Miss Caniield saw that Henry
walked out of it. Henry did not care a rap
for the applause which greeted him; he was
used to being with a great many people, but
he did not like the four bright-red cloth boots
which Miss Canfield had fitted to his paws.
The instant he bounced out of his book, he
began to shake his front paws, and off flew two
red boots. Actors and audience alike were
rocking with laughter, but little cared Henry.
He shook his hind feet just as hard and as
crossly, and then he walked slowly and scorn-
fully off thie stage, leaving the four little red
boots behind him.
Henry wasn't expected to do this, of course,
and neither was Kit, when he followed Kat
from the " Dutch Twins," expected to tumble
186 THREE GATES
over the edge of the book and go down on his
knees. But that was quite in keeping with
Kit's usual behavior. Dotty, as the cuckoo
clock, got excited and sounded the hour rather
of tener than needed.
The mothers thought the play too short.
" Do it over! Please do it over! " they called,
and then they clapped their hands until Miss
Burt said they might see it again.
This time, Robin Hood caught his foot and
tore the back oif his book. But that was noth-
ing, for the backs of books do come off, when
they are read as many times as children read
" Robin Hood."
" Puss-in-Boots " could not be induced to
play again, and the cuckoo clock struck when-
ever no one else was talking. As soon as the
clock began to strike, the audience began to
Polly was amused by Henry, but rather
THE LIBRARY PLAY 187
shocked by Dotty's behavior as the clock.
Grandma was comforting and said it didn't
matter. Everybody else was having a good
time, so why shouldn't Dotty?
Tells about the Thanksgiving Surprises
AT Thanksgiving time, Aunt Barbara
usually came to Longfield with Uncle
Charles and Ruth and Clifford and
little Martha. Such fun to have a houseful of
guests to share the turkey and play games after
Sometimes one cousin or another was at
Three Gates for a visit during the summer
vacation, but Thanksgiving was the only time
when the whole family came.
So it was a disappointment to hear from
Mother that this year no aunt and uncle and
cousins would drive on from Buffalo.
" Aunt Barbara isn't feeling well," Mother
explained. " And, Polly, she wants Grandma
to come there."
TEE THANKSGIVING SURPRISES 189
Thanksgiving without Grandma! Polly
couldn't imagine such a state of affairs.
" I shall be at home from Wednesday till
Monday," Mother went on. " The visit will
do Grandma good. She will start Tuesday
night and come back on Sunday. We are
planning a surprise for her when she gets
Mother and Polly were talking in the work-
room where Uncle Jack was bending over his
table with a pencil and triangle. Instead of
his coat he wore a brown smock which
Grandma made. This didn't look funny to
Polly, for she was quite used to seeing her
young uncle at work in a smock.
" What is the surprise? " she asked. " Am
I to be in it? "
Uncle Jack chuckled. " Very much in it, I
expect. With hands and feet and hair before
we get through."
190 THREE GATES
" What is it? " Polly asked again.
" You know how the pretty breakfast-nook
makes the rest of the kitchen look shabby,"
" Look out, Edith," commented her brother.
** Better wait till Mother is actually gone."
" Oh, Polly can keep a secret," said Mrs.
Winsor. " You won't tell Grandma, will you,
" Not till you say I may," Polly replied
eagerly. " I didn't tell her about the vacuum-
cleaner last Christmas, Uncle Jack."
" So you didn't," her uncle admitted.
" You were a good sport."
This was high praise from Uncle Jack, and
Polly beamed with pride.
" We are planning to do over the kitchen,"
Mother explained, " paint the walls and the
woodwork and varnisji the floor. Grandma
spends so much time in the kitchen that we
THE THANKSGIVING SURPRISES 191
mean to make it as pretty and pleasant as we
can for her."
" My! how nice! " said Polly, her eyes shin-
ing. " What color will you paint it? '*
" The woodwork scarlet, and the walls pale
green with big black cats stenciled all over
them," replied Uncle Jack lazily.
Polly looked at him. His face was per-
fectly serious. She looked at Mother. Mother
" It isn't so, is it. Mother? " she asked. " I
do not think red woodwork and black cats will
be one bit pretty."
" Neither do we," said Mother. " Uncle
Jack likes to hear himself talk. If he wants
to do it that way, I sha'n't help him at all."
" I sha'n't, either," said Polly firmly.
" Now I think black cats and scarlet wood-
work would be a striking combination," ob-
served Uncle Jack.
192 THREE GATES
" I agree with you," said Mother. " Suf-
ficiently striking to knock the family out of the
Ejiowing that secret made Polly more will-
ing to part with Grandma for Thanksgiving.
And, anyway, nobody ought to be selfish when
Aunt Barbara was ill and wanted to see her
Still, Polly was glad to find that the kitchen
was not to be turned upside down until after
the Thanksgiving dinner. Mother roasted a
chicken and they ate the pies Grandma made
before going to Buffalo. Uncle Jack advised
Polly to eat a great deal. It might be her last
square meal for several days.
" What is home without a kitchen? Who
can cook without a kitchen? " he inquired.
Mother said that as long as there was an
electric toaster and a coffee percolator in the
house, she didn't intend to starve. And, per-
THE THANKSGIVING SURPRISES 193
sonally, she didn't intend to paint the gas-
stove, whatever Uncle Jack might mean to do
As soon as dinner was over on Thanksgiving
Day, preparations began. While Mother and
Polly did the dishes, Uncle Jack completely
covered the kitchen floor with old newspapers.
He brushed the ceiling thoroughly. He mixed
some powdery stuff with water in a pail. With
a big wide brush he made the ceiling a soft
This did not take him long. Next came the
walls, and Polly's mind was relieved to see that
the paint which Mother and Uncle Jack were
mixing was not green at all but a pretty color,
not exactly buff and not yellow, but a deep
ivory with brown undertones. Polly thought
nobody but her mother and uncle could have
made such a lovely color. They took great
pains with it, trying dabs on the wall, and
194 THREE GATES
mixing and mixing again until finally they
both said, "There!"
Then they began to paint, Mother on one
side of the room and Uncle Jack on another.
Polly watched in fascination, and her fingers
fairly itched to get hold of a paint-brush.
"Mother, mayn't I help?" she begged.
" I'll be so careful. I do want to paint.
Please let me."
" It isn't as easy as it looks," said Mother.
" We have to make the strokes all the same
way and to have just the right amount of
paint on our brushes."
" It looks such fun," said Polly soberly.
" Edith, she could paint a chair," said Uncle
" She could," agreed Mother, " only that
paint isn't mixed."
" I'll stop and mix it," said Uncle Jack
good-naturedly, and he came down from the
THE THANKSGIVING SURPRISES 195
step-ladder. Polly flew at him and hugged
him as high up as she could reach.
" Go put on your very oldest dress," said
Mother, " that faded pink one I said you
needn't wear any more. And take off your
good socks and shoes, darling. On Grandma's
work-table are some socks she said weren't
worth mending. And your old sneakers with
the hole in the toe."
Mother had on a pink smock and her hair
tied up in a duster, like a Red Cross head-
dress. Uncle Jack wore his rumpled brown
smock. So, when Polly hurried out of her
pretty Thanksgiving garments and into the
discarded ones, she tied another duster about
her head to look like Mother.
When she was dressed, she found one of the
chairs lying on its side on the newspaper-cov-
ered kitchen table. Polly could try her hand
at painting its legs and seat and then some-
196 THREE GATES
body would turn it so she could do the back.
A narrow brush and a pot of paint stood
Polly peeped anxiously into that pot. The
paint was clear yellow just like that of the
breakfast-nook. It seemed that the chairs and
all the woodwork were to be made this pretty
yellow. There was no indication of any red
paint, and certainly there was no sign of any
Polly went eagerly to work, filling her brush
just as Uncle Jack showed her, and wiping it
on the edge of the can. She was very careful
not to spill.
After an hour, Uncle Jack stopped for a
cigarette and Mother and Polly for a piece of
candy, but they rested only a few minutes.
Polly was as anxious to finish that chair as the
others were to complete the walls.
" You've made a good job of that chair,"
THE THANKSGIVING SURPRISES 197
said Uncle Jack, when Polly announced it
done. " Couldn't do better myself."
The walls, it appeared, must have a second
coat of paint, but one was enough for Polly's
chair. " May I do the other two to-morrow? "
she begged. " And the legs of the zinc-topped
table, and — oh, the waste-basket and the
radiator and the knife-tray? "
"We'll see," laughed Mother. "You
mustn't spend all the Thanksgiving recess
working in this smell of turpentine."
" But painting is such fun! " sighed Polly.
" What color are you going to make the
The floor was to be stained a sunny brown,
with a finish which water couldn't spot. When
Polly had finished their yellow dresses, all the
chairs were to have trimmings of black
" But no cats? " asked Polly.
198 THREE GATES
" No cats," said Mother, " only the dear
Mittens who doesn't like this smelly place. We
shall have to put his cushion in the sitting-
room to-night, on the rug before the fire."
When the kitchen was finished it was truly
as pleasant as could be. The washed windows
shone like rainbows. Each had a new sash-
curtain made of thin blue and white muslin.
A new blue-enamelled quart-measure replaced
the rusty tin one.
The kitchen wasn't finished till Sunday
morning, but it was worth all the work put into
it. Polly was so proud of her chairs that she
brought Carola in from church school to see
them. Carola was frankly envious.
" They never let me paint anything, not even
the hen-house," she declared. " Susan and
Dutee did that and they used enough paint to
cover the barn. Daddy said so. They got it
on themselves and on the roof and on the big
THE THANKSGIVING SURPRISES 199
maple-tree and on Wieky and on Beware-the-
dog. They even got it on Grandmother,
though nobody knows how."
" I got some on myself," Polly confessed,
" but I had on very old clothes. And Mittens
was painty because he sat in a chair that
wasn't quite dry. We kept Kerry out of the
kitchen. Don't you think Grandma will be
" She'll be queer if she isn't," said Carola.
" I wish our kitchen was just like it."
Grandma's train reached Longfield at dark,
and Uncle Jack met her with Justin. Polly
and Mother were at the door, ready with hugs
and kisses. Grandma was to find the surprise
There was much to ask about Aimt Barbara
and her family and her new house and the
holiday dinner. Grandma looked at Polly's
200 THREE GATES
" You look tired, Edith," she said. " I'm
afraid this has been too much for you. I ought
not to have gone."
" I don't feel tired," said her daughter.
" Of course we've missed you dreadfull}^ but
it's only fair for Barbara to have you once in
a while. Let's have a cup of tea. Polly, don't
you want to put the cups on the table in the
That was precisely what Polly most wanted
to do. She danced into the kitchen. Mother
and Grandma followed slowly, still talking,
and Uncle Jack, with his hands in his pockets,
sauntered after. They were fairly into the
dusky kitchen when he suddenly switched on
Grandma was right in the middle of a sen-
tence about Aunt Barbara. She stopped
short and looked around as though she couldn't
believe her eyes.
THE THANKSGIVING SURPRISES 201
"Why— why!" she began. "Why, what
have you been doing? "
" Do you like it, Grandma? " asked Polly,
jumping up and down. " It's a s'prise for
you. I painted the chairs. Grandma! "
" Like it," said Grandma, and she looked as
though she were ready to cry. " You dears! "
she said. " Nobody ever had such good,
thoughtful children! Edith, this is why you
look tired. Oh, what a pretty place! You
clever, clever people ! "
Everybody hugged and kissed everybody
else, and Grandma admired everything, from
the ceiling to the floor, from Polly's chairs to
the new quart-measure. Oh, Grandma ap-
preciated every bit of the time and work and
love and skill and thought put into that newly-
" And to think my little Polly painted the
chairs! " she exclaimed again.
202 THREE GATE8
" Mother did the black lines," said loyal
Polly. Just then the front door-bell rang.
Uncle Jack answered it. They heard him
open the door and then there was a pause, fol-
lowed by an exclamation.
"Stop that, Kerry! Stop it, you little
demon! Come back! Stay inside here!
Polly!" he shouted, ''come here right away.
Mother! Edith! All of you! Come!"
Everybody hurried to the hall door. Some-
thing must have happened. Grandma had
taught Uncle Jack better manners than to
stand at the front door and yell for his family
to come and greet a caller.
Yet that was precisely what he had done,
only the caller was most unexpected. On the
piazza, just at the top of the step, in the glow
of the porch-light, stood Fair Rosamond!
Polly gave one scream and rushed to her.
There was no mistake. This was Fair Rosa-
Polly danced about the porch. Page 203.
THE THANKSGIVING SURPRISES 203
mond herself, with a little scar on the side of
her forehead to show where she once met with
a bad fall. But this was not the dress she wore
the night she went away. Fair Rosamond had
never owned a pretty rose gingham smock
with knickers to match.
Screaming with joy, Polly danced about the
porch before she rushed in from the sharp air.
Uncle Jack shut the door behind her, but be-
fore he did so, he looked hard at the shrubbery,
and peered out into the darkness beyond the
circle of light.
In the hall, the family examined Fair Rosa-
mond and her new outfit.
" She did have her name in her pocket, and
so she came back! " Polly gasped. " See^ it's
here now ! Why, this is a different paper."
" It is a letter," said Mother, taking it from
Polly's excited fingers. " Let's see what it
204 THREE GATES
" Deah Mother Pauline," the letter read.
" Please don't spank me for not coming home
before. The truth is I got lost in a thicket
of syringa bushes. I had to camp out there
till a man with a rake rescued me. And then
my clothes were so shabby that I thought I had
better have a new dress before you saw me.
" I went to a dressmaker, and she was so
slow that I shall never try her again. I
thought she never would finish my clothes.
" It was most lucky, dear Mother, that you
thoughtfully put your name and address in my
pocket. Parents should always do this as it
prevents a wandering child from being lost
forever. Because of this care on your part, I
came home to you as soon as my new dress was
ready. I hope you like the color I chose. It
is very fashionable at present. And please
forgive me and love me as you used to do."
" Mother! " gasped Polly, " where has Fair
Rosamond been? "
" Stuck in somebody's syringa hedge, I
should think," smiled Mother.
THE THANKSGIVING SURPRISES 205
" I do wish I could say ' Thank you ' to who-
ever made this pretty dress and brought Fair
Rosamond home. I wish I could tell her how
glad I am! "
" Why, you have," said Uncle Jack lazily.
" Your shouts of exultation were certainly
heard as far as the street, or the bushes by the
front gate. That's why I called you to the
" Oh! " cried Polly, hugging her child again.
" Oh, Mother, the kitchen is all pretty, and
Grandma's back from Aunt Barbara's, and
Fair Rosamond has come home! "